Hansard: NA: Unrevised hansard
House: National Assembly
Date of Meeting: 25 May 2023
No summary available.
THURSDAY, 25 MAY 2023
PROCEEDINGS OF THE HYBRID NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
The House met at 14:01.
The Speaker took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayer or meditation.
The SPEAKER: I wish to announce that the vacancy that occurred in the NA owing to the resignation of Mr K E Siwela has been filled by the nomination of Ms M L Moroane, with effect from
9 May 2023.
Lastly, the vacancies that occurred owing to the resignations of Mr C Brink and Mr N E Hinana had been filled by the nominations of Mr S J Moore and Mr B C Golding, respectively. I can see the two members are here. You may stand, so that the members can see you. Thank you.
The DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE RULING PARTY: Hon Speaker, my sincere apologies for the nonattendance in the House of Ms Ms M L Moroane. She is attending on the virtual platform. The reason for her absence is that they are still working on the house that she is supposed to occupy. Parliament does not pay for more than a week in a hotel. Thank you.
The SPEAKER: The members had made and subscribed the oath and affirmation in the Speaker’s office. I welcome you, hon members.
The SPEAKER: The first item on today’s Order Paper is questions addressed to the Deputy President. There are four supplementary questions on each question. Parties have given an indication of which questions their members wish to pose a supplementary question on.
Adequate notice was given to parties for this purpose. This was done to facilitate the participation of members who are connecting to the sitting through the virtual platform. The members who will pose supplementary questions will be recognised by the presiding officer.
In allocating opportunities for supplementary questions, the principle of fairness, amongst others has been applied. If a member who is supposed to ask a supplementary question through the virtual platform is unable to do so due to technological difficulties, the party Whip on duty will be allowed to ask the question on behalf of their member. When all the supplementary questions have been answered by the Deputy President, we will proceed to the next question on the Question Paper.
Members asking supplementary questions or raising points of order may remain seated when doing so. The first question has been asked by the hon M M E Tlhape to the Deputy President.
QUESTIONS TO THE DEPUTY PRESIDENT
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Speaker, hon members, happy Africa Day. As you may be aware, the theme for this year is: Our Future, Our Africa. Let me then proceed to the question. Next month will mark 110 years since the enactment of the 1913 Natives Land Act. It is now known that the 1913 Land Act resulted in people being removed from productive land and herded into native reserves and conditions of squalor.
We are therefore duty-bound to reverse the injustices of land disconcertion. Hence, land reform remains one of foremost policy interventions in realising our social transformation agenda.
Equally, embarking on land reform is to ensure economic growth and inclusion in all sectors of the economy, particularly the entire agricultural and agro-processing value chain, this sustainable food security.
We are the first to acknowledge that the pace of land reform has been slow. In line with section 25 of the Constitution, which instructs us amongst others, to take reasonable legislative and other measures, within its available resources, to foster conditions which enable citizens to gain access to land on an equitable basis.
The National Assembly has passed the Expropriation Bill, which is currently under consideration by the National Council of Provinces.
However, government has made the following interventions already: 700 000 hectares of state land were identified for redistribution and advertisements were circulated to the public in October 2020; a total of 669 000 hectares of land were considered and approved for allocation, which translate to about 1 459 farms; 245 000 hectares of land had been acquired and allocated to targeted beneficiaries, which include 107 000 hectares to women, 85 000 to youth and 489 hectares to people living with disabilities; 25 000 hectares of the acquired land have been allocated for tenure reform purposes; we have recruited over 4 500 assistant agricultural practitioners to provided technical support to farmers.
As the government, we continue to provide support to beneficiaries of land redistribution through financing, training, market access, irrigation and the provision of seeds, fertilisers, and equipment, all of which contribute to sustainability, particularly of emerging agricultural enterprises.
Last week, we had an opportunity to engage directly with young and emerging farmers at the Cedara College of Agriculture in Pietermaritzburg. During this meeting, there was a strong commitment from all role-players including farmers, to work together in building sustainable agricultural operations, creating jobs and ending poverty.
Together with the Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, the Premier of KwaZulu-Natal province and other members of the executive have made a commitment to support Cedara College and other such centres of excellence.
The government is indeed prioritising requisite support mechanisms for emerging farmers. In this regard, the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development has put in place a number of programmes, both financial and technical support to emerging farmers. Amongst others, these include: the Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme and Ilima Letsema, which is aimed at resourcing and equipping producers towards increased food production and other value chain activities; the Land Development Support Programme, which supports land reform acquired farms with infrastructure, farm machinery and equipment, production development inputs, and provision of technical support, including mentorship; the Blended Finance Scheme, which supports commercialisation; the South African Good Agricultural Practices Certification Programme, which assists farmers to meet minimum food safety and quality requirements, and thus ease access to the market; and collaboration with the Japan International Co-operation Agency, and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation for the implementation of the Farmer Field Schools.
Both these interventions enhance the provision of extension services for small-scale farmers towards attaining sustainable food production and market access.
Lastly, as part of comprehensive farmer support, the government will continue to implement steps to capacitate producers with requisite skills and mentorship programmes, based on their needs at farm level. This capacity-building assists farmers to optimise both production and marketing operations.
These interventions, including targeted policy instruments, seek to provide clear deliverables that are aimed at accelerating land reform and agricultural production, directly contributing to South Africa’s food security, and growing our productive outputs. I thank you.
Ms M M E TLHAPE: Hon Speaker, hon Deputy President, surely all these interventions and land allocations could be scaled down into a contract between government and beneficiaries. What are the expected responsibilities on the part of the beneficiaries that will make interventions, particularly the transformational agenda of land reform, successful? Thank you.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Speaker, hon member, our approach is that sustainable land reform programmes require participation of beneficiaries. In other words, we would like the recipients not to be passive when they get their assistance from government, but to come with initiatives themselves of how they utilise the land, to ensure successful production.
There are many ways in which government can support these beneficiaries. As I said earlier, particularly small-scaled farmers. Where they have decided that they will use land for farming, we will be able to support them with machinery, with various skills, but also supporting them with seeds and other necessary items that will help them to be successful. The government, as I said, also has developmental programmes aimed at supporting particularly emerging farmers.
We would not like to be very prescriptive on what people should do with their land, once they have received the land, but obviously, we want them to use the land productively.
There have been complaints previously that farming recipients of land redistribution or restitutions are not using the land productively and in many instances, you will find a lot of land lying fallow.
So, government is there, not just to make this possible for them to get land, but also to continue to support them, as they come with various initiatives, as I have indicated. Thank you.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: Speaker, Deputy President, South Africa is not an island. Our decisions on the global scale have a direct impact on the cost of living crisis. Over 30 million South Africans are living in poverty, seven out of 10 young people do not have work. In fact, 98% of new jobs in the last quarter came from the Western Cape. The other eight provinces put together 2% of jobs.
Government is quick to remind us that our economic troubles are made worse by the Russia-Ukraine War, yet, government’s position on this war has been at odds with our Constitution. You are the Head of the Ministerial Task Team.
The SPEAKER: Order! No, continue. I am protecting you.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: Alright. You are the Head of the Ministerial Task Team looking into President Putin’s likely visit to South Africa in August, in spite of the International Criminal Court, ICC’s, arrest against him. How will government justify defying our own laws, which expects us to action a warrant against him, and will this reckless move not place in jeopardy lucrative trade agreements, which allow us to cushion struggling South African from rising food prices?
The SPEAKER: Hon Deputy President, you may want to respond to the latter part of that question, but actually, it really has very little to do with the original question.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Speaker, I thought the member thinks that President Putin will help me with land reform. Yes, I thought let’s focus on land reform, because it is a very critical matter for the country. There will be time when we can talk about Ukraine and Russia. I will gladly respond.
If you talk about rising food prices, it is actually what is happening throughout the world. We have already acknowledged that there are challenges globally that impact on us and some them have led to an increase in prices of goods and services.
So, let me divert a bit and say to you that I think, it is important that we help beneficiaries of land reform to become productive with the land they have, particularly to cushion them from trying to get foreign goods, particularly food. If they can use that land productively, they can produce food for themselves and be able to sustain themselves.
However, obviously, if they become real farmers, we will support them and they can produce food for all of us. Food security is very important. Then we will probably worry less about what is happening in the world with wars, because we can sustain ourselves. Thank you very much.
Mr W W WESSELS: Hon Speaker, hon Deputy President, if one looks at the land restitution reports, then 93% of beneficiaries of land restitution claims opted to receive financial compensation rather than the land. That is taken into account together with trustworthy surveys conducted recently, which shows that the majority of South Africans place land, especially agricultural land very low on their list of needs and priorities.
Why is it then that government still creates the perception that land is so important with regard to economic transformation and is it not more important that the question and complicated problem is addressed by finding a balance between getting land for housing projects whilst preserving food security? Also would you not agree that housing is a crisis and not a need for agricultural land, but rather urban housing? We have a shortage of land available that is actually utilised for that, and is there a concrete plan by government for that? Thank you.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Speaker, hon Wessels, I said at the beginning that the majority of our people were forcefully removed from their land. In other words, the land was taken away from them, particularly with the Land Act of 1913, confined to what became known as homelands. So, they occupied 13% of the land, yet, they are the majority in this country. So, we are trying to redress that. It is programme that we cannot run away from.
There may be weaknesses that maybe some of the beneficiaries opt for money, they don’t see land as productive, but we are going to push that people must appreciate that we are bringing back their land to them. We, from this side of the House, have always been convinced that the struggle in our country has always been the struggle for land that was taken away.
So, I think it is important that we must not deviate from that. Yes, housing is very important, particularly urban houses. We are busy doing that, as you know. We have built more that 4 to 5 000 subsidised housing throughout the urban areas, but we must continue with the programme to give back people their land that was taken away. Thank you very much.
Mr S N SWART: Hon Speaker, hon Deputy President, arising from your response, the ACDP appreciates that the land question is a very emotive one, given the 2013 Land Act. We have consistently said that we are not opposed to land restitution, but the answer lies not in the “why” but in the “how”. We have also said that expropriation of land without compensation is not the panacea to the land question. Can you confirm whether government intends considering relevant recommendations of the Motlanthe High Level Panel as well as the final report of the Presidential Advisory Panel on Land Reform and Agricultural Act, and more specifically, what is being done to address rampant corruption that characterises the restitution and land reform process highlighted in those reports, as well as by the Special Investigating Unit? Corruption clearly threatens the land reform process and reduces the amount of funds available for financial technical support for emerging farmers. Thank you.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Swart, we as the ANC, have welcomed the Motlanthe report. I agree with you that where there is corruption, we need to intervene decisively, because the programme of giving people land must ensure that it really benefits them. Of course, as I said earlier, it is
not just a programme of returning the land to the people but supporting them to use the land productively.
So, the Motlanthe report is fully supported. In fact, we are busy with it at the moment, as the ANC, to look at how we implement various recommendations that the Motlanthe report has come up with.
So, I agree with you that we should spend a lot of time focussing on that question of the “how”. So, we will be glad to work with you in that regard, because I can see you are a man committed to this question of returning the land to the people. So, let us work together on the “how”. Thank you very much.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Thank you very much, hon Speaker. Section 154 of the Constitution enjoins us to support and strengthen the capacity of municipalities to manage their own affairs, to exercise their powers, and to perform their functions.
Through the Inter-Ministerial Committee, IMC, that I have the honour to chair, we are supporting municipalities to accelerate service delivery. The IMC also serves as a catalyst to build financially resilient and stable municipalities by amongst others focusing on the following: Firstly, identifies identify service delivery hotspots or intervention as we have been doing so far. Secondly, ensure alignment of plans including infrastructure development plans and operations with national, provincial and districts in line with the District Development Model.
Hon Speaker, the matter of coalition government is important and require agent attention and our collective wisdom. I have responded to similar questions in the National Council of Provinces about coalition governments and a need to convene a national dialogue on coalitions and more specifically on reasons why municipalities are dysfunctional due to the absence of a regular framework guiding coalitions.
Hon Speaker, in response to the question by the Chief Whip of the Opposition, I acknowledge the intention by the hon member to introduce the Private Member’s Bill on coalition governments. To begin with, I would like to reiterate that the
South African Local Government Association, SALGA developed a framework for collisions. We did observe in our previous response that the existing framework has weaknesses, and as a result, we committed to convene a dialogue to discuss and develop a coherent collision framework.
Before stating whether we support the Bill or not, I would like to outline principles that should serve as a foundation, for a collision between and with any political party in South Africa. The first one is put putting people first, by making them the tenants of our value system in the formation of governments. And this we must do in the spirit of Batho Pele build. The measurements of the performance of coalitions must be about what we have done to improve the quality of lives of our people for the better.
Secondly, coalition governments must be committed to combating poverty and deprivation, as well as building a growing and inclusive economy, and must report regularly by providing evidence of poverty reduction, growing the economy and including the majority in the mainstream of the economy.
Thirdly, collision governments must contribute towards building a prosperous society in which people have access to land for productive purposes and are meaningfully participating in the economic.
Fourthly, coalition government must be committed to building non-racialism, non-sexism, democratic, united and a prosperous society.
Fifthly, if coalition governments should be bound together by a commitment to good governance with no tolerance for corruption. Lastly, the party that has won the largest votes in an election should be allowed to lead the coalition and the executive position should then be allocated proportionally with the votes obtained by the collision partners. I think it’s something that you make in your Private Member’s Bill. So we agree.
Hon Speaker, the above-mentioned principle will then constitute the basis of the discussion at the national level, engaging in that dialogue where we can then come to an agreement on the national framework. We want to do this, hon member, within the next two months. We are taking into account
the fact that there are elections next year, so we don’t want to delay it.
Hon Speaker, working with the Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Cogta, we will be inviting all political parties represented in Parliament to the dialogue on the principle of coalition government across all spheres of government. While we are urgently attending to the issue of dysfunctionality of municipalities as a result of current loosely arranged coalition. Particularly as we can see in local government. All political parties will be invited to start depositing inputs and views to the technical committee led by the Presidency and Cogta to help develop the framework of coalition governments, which will consequently lead to the development of legislation. So you can see we are getting there.
We want to build consensus, because if we don’t do with together as political parties, we will fail our people and our economy will collapse. So, the time has come that we should foster more unity as political parties so that we can ensure that our country becomes prosperous. The time for unity of the country is now. Thank you very much, hon Speaker.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: Deputy President, I agree with you that any form of government must be willing to put the people first. We have noted that the ANC has lost control in most of the metro in the country. And research indicates that you are likely to lose majority in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng as well. Over and above the national majority that you have. But Deputy President, where we agreeing is that the instability we have seen at a local level cannot be replicated at a national level. Because the instability has also been due to check book politics underscored by political maturity.
So I’m glad that you are asking for a national dialogue, but I’m asking you today that when these Bills come to Parliament, can you as the Deputy President in your capacity as the Deputy President of your party and the country assure the South Africans out there, that we will have enough political maturity to come together and pass legislation that meets all these requirements, as you have stated here today. And that we will put petty political differences aside and put the people first?
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Gwarube, we are moving in the same direction, but we shouldn’t put the cart
before the horse. So we are saying as parties, if we agree on the framework, the process of legislation is going to be smoother, it will be easy. So my suggestion is that, bring your Private Members Bill to me. Yeah. Bring it. Because what we are going to do, we want to take all these elements and when we do that dialogue, I suppose the DA will send you. ... or you will send yourself.
So you can see ... We are not against legislation. We are saying, let’s do this framework and then take it there. In fact, you’ll be glad to know that there’s already a tactical Minmac of Cogta that is busy with that. My office will write to you to tell when the dialogue is. I said, within two weeks, we must get this right. Then we move to that direction. In that dialogue, you are going to have an opportunity to. Make an input that is in your Private Member’s Bill. I have read it. You have quite interesting points there, but the dialogue is going to give you a very nice platform.
Mr L E MOLALA: Deputy President of the Republic, what is the view of the Deputy President about the impact of failing coalition governments on our communities and what measures, is taken by the national and provincial governments which will
assist to mitigate these instabilities of coalition governments?
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Thank you very much. Hon Mulala, by coming up with this national framework, we want to ensure that we deal with the instability that we see. The approach to coalition at the local government level has not been underpinned by solid principles. So people end up fighting for spoils basically. You can have a mayor position and I have a deputy. In some instances, they even create those positions. You find a small municipality that doesn’t even have a good budget but want to have a deputy mayor, So that we can allocate it to someone.
Therefore, we want to support them at the national level. Firstly, to ensure that collisions are underpinned by principles first. What I have read here is not a cast in stone. I think at the dialogue will allow people to add. Because once you agree on principles, it’s then easy to then agree on who does what. So we are very clear that, let’s agree on this framework ... But we must not remove the ability of the national government to support and to intervene. In fact,
we know that provinces do intervene. And they use section 139 if they see that things are falling apart.
But there is also, as I said earlier, section 154, which is give support first. You give support and only as a last resort when things are not working, then you come with section 139.
But the underlying approach at the beginning must always be support first. Support municipalities to be able to succeed. And when they can’t, then you are able to come with section 139.
The current regime of coalition in our country’s local government is shaking. And I think we need to intervene to make sure that it follows solid principles to be able to succeed. Because it’s a government closest to where our people are. So if local government fail, we fail as a count. So I’m very, very keen to ensure that we stay closer to what local government does. Thank you very much.
Dr C P MULDER: Thank you, hon Speaker. I think we are having a historic discussion at this moment. For the first time in 29 years, the ruling party is talking about coalitions. And the reason is, we all know what the reason is. Now, I may have to
issue a caution that if we are going to talk about legislation, legislation should not be used to try to keep a party that is losing power in power.
This is the reality. The fact is that the things that you just mentioned as principles are not principles. They are political positions. Legislators should be very careful that we do not try to turn political positions into principles when it comes to how a coalition should be structured. It is not technically correct to say that coalitions fail. There are many, many successful coalitions right now. I just know that they are not. Those that fail... [Interjections.] ...
The SPEAKER: Order!
Dr C P MULDER: ... and some of the metros, and there are very good reasons for that.
You mentioned section 154, that’s absolutely correct, and that plays an emphasis on what provincial government should do.
There’s also Chapter three, in terms of co-operative governance. The problem is that there is a determined effort to undermine coalition governments. Your very good friend, the
Premier of Gauteng Mr Lesufi attended each and every opportunity to destabilize ... [Interjections.] ...
The SPEAKER: Your time is up!
... he did not attend the State of the Province Address or the State of the City. My question is, why do you want to cover legislation now while the ANC is going to lose power?
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Thank you, hon Speaker. Hon Mulder, you would be surprised that coalition is not our favourite as the ANC. We are going to campaign next year to win. Hon Mulder, I will meet you on the ground. We are campaigning to win.
The reason we are discussing coalitions is, of course, we want to be realistic as a party, that we have seen this happen at the local level, that we have not developed a proper framework and things have gone wrong. I think any self-respecting party will have a vision and prepare for that future.
We are saying that if we do not win outright, we are going to figure out how we are going to proceed. If we go to
coalitions, what should they look like? But we are not saying, oh, please, please, the Parliament quickly support coalitions because we are in trouble, no, we are not.
The SPEAKER: Thank you, hon Deputy President.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: ... yes. So, we don’t
want to come up with legislation to keep losers in power. I said earlier in my speech that it is important that the party that wins the majority can lead, because right now we have this problem. People are making deals, okay? We did not win the elections, but if you give us this position, we will support you. We say... Because remember, winning elections is the will of the people. So if you allow the party... [Interjections.] ...
The SPEAKER: Order! Allow him to speak. Please hon members.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: ... Allow me to speak, this is a very important point. If you won the most votes, you get to lead the coalition that represents the interests of the people. But if you do it the other way around, if you put a party that did not win at the top, then it’s no longer the
will of the people. So let us design a model that is consistent with the will of the people. That is all we are saying. But next year we are going to campaign to win.
Mr E M BUTHELEZI: Thank you very much, Speaker. I like the fact that the Deputy President is very realistic. And as you have admitted that we can’t avoid coalitions and that is a clear indication that you admit that the is definitely going to lose ... [Interjections.] ...
Ms P C P MAJODINA: Never!
Mr E M BUTHELEZI: ... and also, the fact that the IFP is known to have broad sense and stability wherever we are involved ... [Interjections.] ...
AN HON MEMBER: Yes.
... Can the Deputy President then agree with me that whatever form of ... [Inaudible.] ... will emerge come next year, that should be at the exclusion of the ANC because there would have amounted to be people rejecting you because you are the cause of all our problems.
AN HON MEMBER: You’ve been rejected!
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Buthelezi, I thought that you would have been the first to support me because the ANC and the IFP were Amongst the first parties to discuss coalitions. If you remember 2016? Myself and hon Singh were leading that process. So all I’m saying, it’s not new. I’m just saying let’s design it properly.
We are not desperate. We are going to challenge you even in KwaZulu-Natal, KZN. I know that you are very comfortable that you will win KZN, we are coming to KZN.
But remember, hon Buthelezi, this discussion is not new. We are just saying let’s firm it up and I think you will be the first to come to that dialogue. Yes. Thank you very much.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Speaker, the mandate of the Special Envoy to South Sudan differs with that of the South African ambassador in that the latter deals with normal bilateral relations between the two countries. The Special Envoy on the other hand, is tasked with assisting in the
search for durable peace in South Sudan. The immediate task of the Special Envoy is to help the parties to the transitional Government of National Unity in South Sudan with the implementation of the Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan, R-ARCSS.
For a brief background, I won’t be long, hon member, but let me give you a brief background. South Sudan became an independent Republic on 9 July 2011 following a referendum seven months earlier in January in which 98,83% of its citizens voted in favour of the secession from the Republic of Sudan. Barely two years later in December 2013, fighting broke out within the ranks of the army, the one known as Sudan People’s Liberation Army, SPLA.
One faction of the army supported President Salva Kiir, while another aligned itself with Vice President Riek Machar. In 2015, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, IGAD, which is the region’s economic community, brokered the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan, ARCSS, which led to a brief pause in the fighting, which one may refer to it as a cease fire. The renewed peace efforts would be made again in 2018 under the
stewardship of then Sudan President, Omar al-Bashir, and Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni.
This culminated in the signing of what became known as the Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan, R-ARCSS, signed by nine political signatories and 16 civil society formations in Khartoum, in Sudan. However, the former Deputy Chief of the South Sudan army, Thomas Cirillo, refused to sign the agreement and now leads the National Salvation Front ... [Interjections.]
The SPEAKER: Hon Patrain, mute please. Please mute your mic.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Okay.
The SPEAKER: Proceed, Deputy President.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Thank you. The hon
members online should watch their gadgets. Hon Meshoe is listening attentively to this. Let’s not disturb him. Hon Speaker, I said, the former Deputy Chief of the South Sudan army, Thomas Cirillo, refused to sign the agreement and now
leads the National Salvation Front as a rebel group which operates in the Central and Western Equatoria States.
The National Salvation Front regularly clashes with the South Sudan People’s Defence Forces. This has led to the displacement of thousands of people and represents a threat to the R-ARCSS. The R-ARCSS, which is a Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan, established a power sharing mechanism amongst the belligerent parties. Under the agreement, South Sudan must draft and adopt a Constitution to replace the transitional Constitution adopted on independence in 2011.
The country must also hold a national general election at the end of the lifespan of the agreement. South Africa chairs the African Union High Level Ad Hoc Committee for South Sudan, also known as the C5, composing of South Africa, Algeria, Chad, Nigeria and Rwanda. The C5 was established by the African Union Assembly of Heads of State and Government in 2015 to lend political and other support to the South Sudan peace process. Evidently, the work of the Special Envoy contributes to the effort to silence the guns.
It seeks to complement IGAD, the African Union, AU, and the United Nations, UN, in the search for peace in South Sudan, the region and the wider African Continent. Earlier this week, I had a virtual meeting with Mr. Nicholas Haysom, a distinguished South African who serves as Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan, UNMISS, to discuss the situation in that sister African country. In the coming weeks and months, I will be engaging fully with various parties to the conflict, South Sudan’s neighbours, particularly members of the C5 and relevant players beyond the region and continent.
The attainment of peace in South Sudan will help to stabilise an already strained Horn of Africa region, with its various levels of social and political conflicts within and between countries. Peace must also lead to the development effort which should, in turn, contribute to the material upliftment of the people. It should also help to address a plethora of social and political problems, including stemming the plethora of migration.
Hon Meshoe, I know that, at the moment, more than 5 000 people have been crossing the border from Sudan to South Sudan. So,
already there’s lot of development that destabilises the situation there. In this regard, South Sudan is one of the world’s most, probably most people know this. South Sudan is one of the world’s most fertile places. It has good agricultural potential, they also have the abundance of water, oil, etc.
So, it is important that we assist that country to stabilise in order for them to can use these resources to develop their country for their own people, but also become a stable member of all countries in the continent. Hon Speaker, South Sudan has all it takes to become one of the economic hubs in East Africa and the Horn of Africa, but only if we can bring peace. As all of us are aware, today is Africa Day, as I have said earlier. This is the day on which the Organisation of African Unity, the forerunner to the AU, was formed by 32 Heads of State of Independent African States in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa.
Those visionary giants of envisioned an Africa free from colonialism and apartheid. They also dreamt of a peaceful, democratic and prosperous continent whose peoples enjoy the best quality of life that the continent can offer. Such an
Africa is possible. Let us roll up our sleeves to make it a reality. So, we have to silence the guns in South Sudan as well, and the whole of Sudan. Thank you very much, hon Speaker.
Rev K R J MESHOE: Through you, hon Speaker, Thank you, hon Deputy President, for that long reply. what I would also like to know from you, sir, is whether your mandate as the Leader of the Republic Peace Missions includes finding out who finances and supplies the warring factions with arms and ammunition, or does your mandate only involves sitting around the table to discuss peace, while the destabilisers and instigators continue to make money from supplying arms and other war equipment to the warring parties?
If this is the approach, and there are no investigations taking place, then the work of the African Union and the United Nations to help bring about peace in times of conflict, will never bring lasting peace and we will never know who benefits from these unending wars on the African Continent, particularly in South Sudan. Thank you.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon members, hon Meshoe said that he wants a short version of my answer. Yes indeed, if we are involved in a peace process, inevitably, we will take interest on who supplies funds and guns to perpetuate the conflict. It’s inevitable because, if you sit around the table and discussing peace, but you’re not dealing with this issue, then you have not started your peace process. So, when we convene the C5, this will be part of our discussion.
We mean it when we say that we want peace. So, we can’t go there and say, guys, let’s have peace but we don’t care who supply guns and brings money. The people who supply guns and bringing in money, are perpetuating the conflict, and therefore, they must be stopped. So, this will be at the hear of our discussion when we convene a C5 meeting. Thank you very much, I hope that was a short version.
The SPEAKER: Thank you, Deputy President. The second supplementary question will be asked by hon M O C Maotwe.
Ms H O MKHALIPHI: I will take it, Speaker. [Inaudible.]
... I was not ready.
The SPEAKER: Hon member, proceed please. Hon Mkhaliphi, I will come back to you. Now I will give the opportunity to hon Shaik Emam.
Ms H O MKHALIPHI: I am ready, Speaker, sorry for that.
The SPEAKER: You are ready, proceed, hon Mkhaliphi.
Ms H O MKHALIPHI: Through you, Speaker. Deputy President, I am representing hon Maotwe, she is coming later to the House.
Deputy President, there has been a gradual degeneration of the African Union in fostering peace and in holding the space for Pan-Africanist space of African development, including the role of maintaining peace in the continent. The crisis in Sudan as was the crisis in Ethiopia, in Mali, in Central republic and many other places, is an indicative of this vacuum left by the AU, giving an imperialist time and space to ferment this unity and create violence in the continent.
Why has South Africa neglected its leadership role in the continent, and what does the AU needs to do to reassert itself on matters of the continent, including that of maintaining peace in areas such as Sudan? Thank you, Speaker.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Thank you, hon Mkhaliphi on behalf of hon Maote. No, we are not neglecting our role in the continent, we are fully involved. In fact, the African Union is involved in this mission. So, we are not alone as South Africa going to South Sudan, or trying to ensure that there is peace in Sudan. The African Union is fully involved. We are going to be working with them. Just a week ago the President was in Burundi, where they were dealing with the issues of conflicts in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC. So, we are there in the continent.
As part of our intervention in South Sudan, I will be leading a mission to South Sudan as the Envoy of the President to be able to deal with these issues, and as I said, that a few days ago I had a discussion with a Special Envoy to the Secretary- General who is a Special Envoy on South Sudan. So, we are beginning to pull things together. You will recall that the former Deputy President, David Mabuza spent a lot of time going to South Sudan and other areas of conflicts in the continent.
Of course, there was a challenge because, with the advent of COVID-19, I was not able to sustain those initiatives. So, I
am sort of reviving those initiatives now, and I will take over from where he left to make sure that we can complete this mission. You would recall that earlier I said that we want them to adopt a democratic Constitution, and we want them to have elections sooner rather than later. So, yes, hon member, we will sustain our leadership in the continent. Thank you very much.
Mr A M SHAIK EMAM: Through you, Speaker, Deputy President, we don’t need to have a rocket scientist to know that the country which produce the highest-level gold in 2022, having some of the most fertile land, water, gold, chrome, zinc and aluminium, that there would be war there. Now, there are serious allegations that there are certain countries including the United States of America, USA, that are funding the warring factions and promoting this instability.
In your intervention as a Special envoy and the deliberations that took place, is there any evidence or information that was unfolded that there is indeed an interference by other countries concerning what is happening in Sudan? Thank you.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Shaik Emam, thank you very much. Earlier on I said that, when we convene the meeting of C5, on of the things that we will be doing, will be addressing exactly what hon Meshoe has saying about, who supplies arms and funding? If we don’t deal with that, we are not going to have peace. However, at the moment, I am not in a position to say definitively that, this is the person who is supplying.
I think that we should leave that for the next process, where we are able to engage and have the real facts on the table, so that we don’t accuse anybody wrongly. So, for now I want to leave it like that. Yes, it’s something that we must pay attention to, and because these processes are very transparent, people will know once we have the facts, who’s to blame or the raging war in that part of the African Continent. Thank you very much, hon Speaker.
Mr M S CHABANE: Through you, Speaker. Thank you, Deputy President, for the comprehensive response. Deputy President, the ANC-led government as it is in the forefront to drive towards the realisation of goals of the African Union, especially promoting peace, security and stability in the
continent, noting the peace initiative undertaken by the then former Deputy President, David Mabuza.
The President assured this House that our government will continue to ensure that there is peace and stability in the region. He also outlined interventions to consolidate efforts by the C5, as the Deputy President has alerted. Thank you.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Through you, Speaker, hon Chabane, most definitely, as I have just said that the work that the former Deputy President, Mabuza, did, will be continued. I had an opportunity to work with him very closely when he was dealing with that task. At some point, the President sent us together on some missions. So, I’m very familiar with the work he was doing, and as one of our leaders, we continue to look at the work he did and we will certainly be in touch with him because, I think that it is important that we continue our support for the Revitalised Transitional Government of National Unity, RTGoNU.
They have a huge responsibility to ensure that the peace process holds in South Sudan. We had some indications lately that, there are elements that are making the ceasefire shaky.
So, it is important that we must come strongly to support them, so that we are able to insure lasting peace there. So, I will be engaging with various countries, as I have said, with those who are members of the C5. We have started the process to convene.
Following our discussion with the Special envoy of the Secretary-General we are looking to meet with the warring parties as soon as possible. So, you can be assured that South Africa is not pulling back. We are committed to this work, and we are going to make sure that there is lasting peace in South Sudan so that the people can focus on real development, and make sure that they thrive, and they have a better life. Thank you very much, hon Speaker.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: On 5 May 2023, I met
with the chairperson and deputy chairperson of the National House of Traditional and Khoi-San Leaders as well as the Minister and Deputy Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs.
The meeting discussed, among others, the issue of the safety of traditional leaders in our country. We also discussed the importance of strengthening the institution of traditional leadership.
The high rate of the killings of traditional leaders, particularly in provinces like KwaZulu-Natal, remains a serious concern to us. In this regard, the Department of Co- operative Governance and Traditional Affairs in the province entered into a memorandum of understanding with the Department of Community Safety and Liaison to address this matter.
As part of ongoing efforts to address the killings of traditional leaders and rural safety in general, the Minister of Police, hon Bheki Cele, had previously launch the National Rural Safety Strategy. This strategy remains an important instrument of addressing rural safety through an integrated day-to-day policing approach, by creating a safe and secure rural environment.
The SA Police Service also participates in the workstream of the Interministerial Task Team that is dealing with this issue
of the killings of traditional leaders, and rural safety in general.
In order to enhance the implementation of the National Rural Safety Strategy, the SA Police Service has initiated the concept of traditional policing, which has been welcomed by the institution of traditional leadership.
We are aware that in certain instances succession disputes create tensions within the institution of traditional leadership. To this end, the Traditional and Khoi-San Leadership Act was passed by Parliament in 2019. The Act clearly outlines processes to be followed when nominations and recognition of heirs to the throne of traditional leadership are conducted.
As a government, we will continue to work closely with the National House of Traditional and Khoi-San leaders, through the Interministerial Task Team, to address challenges that affect the stability of the institution and the development of traditional communities. We are also discussing the notion of the king’s forum as one of the mechanisms to strengthen the institution of traditional leadership.
Lastly, I am currently undertaking various provincial visits to take forward the commitments that were made by my predecessor in an effort to further strengthen our partnership, and address matters of concern to the institution of traditional leadership. Thank you very much.
Mr X N MSIMANGO: House Chair, and thanks very much to the Deputy President, one thing that needs to be noted, Deputy President, which is one of the things that I must appreciate before, is that you are hands on, because in your response, it is clear that you have met with structures, in particular, those that are leading traditional institutions. Now, the question is: Do you envisage that the current Traditional Courts Bill will contribute to enhance measures to build cohesive traditional communities and family units in rural areas? Thank you very much.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Msimango, yes
indeed, it will. I have looked at the objects of the Bill, and if I may quote some of them:
(a) affirm the values of the traditional justice system, based on restorative justice and reconciliation and to align them with the Constitution;
(b) affirm the role of the institution of traditional leadership –
(i) promoting social cohesion, co-existence and peace and harmony in traditional communities;
(ii) enhancing access to justice by providing a speedier, less formal, and less expensive resolution of disputes; and
(iii) promoting and preserving traditions, customs and cultural practices that promote nation- building, in line with constitutional values.
So, yes indeed, if you look at that Bill, it is strengthening the institution in a positive way. I think it will also create uniform legislative framework that will regulate the structures and functioning of the traditional courts, enhance its effectiveness, etc.
So, in brief, we agree that this is a very important Bill, and it should be supported. Thank you very much.
Mr E M BUTHELEZI: Your Excellency, the Deputy President, the question posed by hon Msimango is very important and sensitive in that it speaks to that which has a potential to undermine the traditional leadership institution. So, considering what one of our statesmen, and a senior member of this House, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi used to say that the outstanding matter of powers, roles, and functions of traditional leaders [amakhosi] must be addressed once and for all in our Constitution. So, don’t you think that to achieve whatever that you want to achieve in terms of bringing stability and total peace, you need to first address this matter?
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Well, as I said earlier that we see this Bill as a way of bringing cohesiveness in the institution of traditional leadership. We believe that if you look at the objects of the Bill now, they’ll ensure that once passed into law, the Act will be able to contribute to social cohesion. I think the issues of the powers of amakhosi as hon Msimango is saying, the issues can be raised in the current debate as we deal with this matter. I think this is taking us in the right direction. There are many traditional leaders [amakhosi] out there who are very supportive that we should move in that direction. We are working very closely with the
National House of Traditional and Khoi-San Leaders. Thank you very much.
Mr A G WHITFIELD: Deputy President, the DA is concerned about the killings of traditional leaders, but we are also concerned the killings of thousands of South Africans. Let me reiterate for those where not listening, the DA is concerned about the killings of traditional leaders, and we remain committed to caring about the thousands of South Africans who are killed
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Order, hon members.
Mr A G WHITFIELD: There has been a 20% increase in murder in South Africa over the last five years. As you know, Deputy President, section 205 of the Constitution makes it the South African Police Service’s responsibility to protect the lives and property of the South African citizens, including our traditional leaders.
In September 2019, the DA launched a rural safety plan, one month later, Minister Cele announced the SAPS rural strategy, which we welcome. In that SAPS rural safety strategy, it made
explicit ... [Interjections.] ... for the involvement of traditional leaders. It has failed. What will you be doing to ensure that traditional leaders play a meaningful role in rural safety as per the rural safety plan of the SA Police Service?
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon member, we are all concerned about the killings, not only of traditional leaders, but of everybody in our country. We are concerned if there is increase in murders in our society in general, and in the townships. When it comes to rural safety strategy as well, we want to make sure that it works. Hon Bheki Cele has not mentioned to me that it has failed. I will be discussing with him because the Cabinet has put fighting crime as one of the top priorities in the country. So, we will be looking not only at crime generally, but also at rural safety, and in doing so, being the traditional leaders on board. I think that’s your concern that are they involved. Yes, they should be involved. One of the responsibility the President has given me was to work with traditional leaders. We have only met the National House of Traditional and Khoi-San Leaders so far, but we are now visiting provinces, and are arranging to meet with various traditional leaders and discuss the issues of rural safety and
take into account their concerns. Thank you very much, hon House Chair.
Ms H O MKHALIPHI: Deputy President, the tussles over traditional leadership positions are driven not only by prospects of salaries, but also by the powers that traditional leaders have over a wide range of social issues, including control over land and the powers to make deals on the community land, bypassing consultation with, and approval by communities. Your party has this worse by introducing and passing a number of laws that seeks to re-enact Bantustan laws and give traditional leaders undue powers over the people.
Have you considered reviewing the legislative framework regulating the institution of traditional leadership to ensure that this important institution is protected whilst having its powers regulated to prevent leadership excesses?
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Mkhaliphi, if you may help me, which laws are these? Just help me out.
Ms H O MKHALIPHI: The Bantustan laws.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: You are saying, we have introduced ...
Ms H O MKHALIPHI: You are seeking to reintroduce.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Oh, seeking.
Ms H O MKHALIPHI: Yes. You must tell me ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Thank you, hon Mkhaliphi, you have clarified yourself ...
Ms H O MKHALIPHI: Why do you want me to do your research?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Hon Mkhaliphi!
Ms H O MKHALIPHI: House Chairperson, who is asking questions? Is it me or him?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Take your seat now. Thank you. [Interjections.]
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: No, I was a bit confused because I thought you said we have introduced laws. Okay, I am not going to respond to what you mean by “we are seeking.” What I know we are doing; we are strengthening our relationship with the institution of traditional leadership.
You cannot wish them away if that’s your wish. Working with traditional leadership doesn’t mean you are going back to Bantustans. We are saying that traditional leaders have a positive role to play as we speak, they are. Therefore, you need to make sure that you work with them, and that in the way that they exercise their own powers, they do it with regard to the fact that people have constitutional rights. People must enjoy human rights. So, that’s what we are doing. We are not going there to fight with traditional leaders. We are going there to work with them because they are a critical element of how people live in those communities. We need to work with them. So, we are not seeking to introduce some Bantustan laws and apartheid laws. We are a democratic organization. We run a democratic country. The system of traditional leadership will always be designed around those values of democratic institutions. That’s what we need to do, not to isolate them and seek to wish them away. Thank you very much.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC Hon Chair, the
Constitution of the Republic of South Africa outlaws all unfair discriminatory practices particularly on the basis of sex, gender or sexual orientation whether committed by the government or by a private party. For this reason, the government strongly believe that the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people, that’s LGBTQI human rights. According to Human Dignity Trust a strategic litigation NGO which defence and advances the rights of LGBTQIA+ people there is a total of 67 countries around the world which criminalises same sexual activity, 41 of these countries criminalise private conceptual sexual activities between women, 11 counties imposed death penalty while 14 others criminalised transgender people. This gives you an idea of the enormity of the challenge at hand. And this matter is currently under discussion within our ranks.
Concerns in many countries throughout the world I have been raised with whom you must engage or we must engage persuasively ensure that they can recognise the rights of LGBTQIA people. We must endeavoured to persuade because the fact that 67 countries in question criminalises LGBTQIA people
is indicative of the treason that our outlook of our laws are not really universal. We cannot therefore, impose our will on other countries but we can persuade them. We will have engagement with them as I indicated 67 out of 195 countries. This represent slightly more than a third. Specifically, if I may say 34,3% of the world which is no small number by any stretch of imagination.
So, basically the point I am making is that, yes, we have seen the resurgence of this as it happens recently in Uganda. But the point is that, it’s happening in many other countries
As South Africa, we respect the rights of LGBTQ and IA people. Their rights are protected in South Africa and will remain protected. They must enjoy the freedom of association like all of us do. So, as South Africa if we see other countries not doing this seeking to oppress and criminalise this it is of major concern and we will seek to influence them to pursued them in the various multilateral forum where we engage with them. Thank you very much, Chairperson.
Mr B N HERRON: I am glad that we agreed that LGBTQIA rights are human rights. Human rights are rights to people entitle by
virtue of being human. They are indivisible, absolute, fundamental and they are universal and the key tension often arises is between the universality of human rights and state sovereignty. And this is because human rights are absolute. This lead to the question how we view our obligations with regards to human rights abuses that are taking place elsewhere and their protection.
So, the ANC claim political rights from its foundation in 1912 and then broaden those rights to champion for wider democratic rights in the 1940s and South Africa post-apartheid democratic Constitution has long been assumed to be a logical outcome of the ANC’s human rights tradition. So, when South Africa struggle for freedom from human rights abuses based on race, we relied on the universality of the right to be free regardless of our race. And we relied on the international community to recognise the moral and legal obligations to support the right for free in democratic South Africa.
We did not accept sovereignty as an acceptable excuse for our nation to turn a blind eye. Now our continent is blunted by nation state that has passed the law to condemn those who exercise their fundamental human rights to identify their
gender and sexual orientation to life imprisonment. We have a President who reportedly does not accept this punishment and would like the LGBTQI to be murdered.
Our recognition of universal basic human rights must extend beyond their borders as we rely on others to act beyond their borders during our time of need.
Surely, Deputy President, we cannot hide behind neutrality and sovereignty when there is a real risk the Africans will be killed.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): What is the question, hon member?
Mr B N HERRON: I am getting to the question, Chair.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): No, timetime is expiring, hon member.
Mr B N HERRON: Thank you Chair. Deputy President, do we not have a moral, legal and reciprocal duty to take positive
action to defend the lives of Ugandans who face state murder? Thank you.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon member, I have
already said that in South Africa the rights of LGBTQIA people are protected. They enjoy freedom of association and we would like to see this happening all over the world. But I think we must be realistic that when we accept that the principles must be a universal. We cannot just impose them to other countries. So, the issue of sovereignty should not be undermined. I mean, I can’t just be walking into Uganda and say you shall do this. But the point I am making is that, we will persuade them. We will engage with them because that’s the right way. That’s why we have that multilateral forum because we probably will not accept anybody coming to South Africa and say you shall do this.
But the point is, let the rights of everybody be protected. Let the LGBTQIA people enjoy human rights. They must enjoy human rights and we will continue to fight for their protection. We will continue throughout the world to persuade others to take the progressive step that South Africa has
taken. We pride ourselves for that. But we need to persuade the others. Thank you very much.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Thank you, hon Deputy President. Hon members, before I recognise the member who will ask the second supplementary question I wish to remind you that the member who ask the question has two minutes. He makes a statement followed by a question within the two minutes.
Subsequent supplementary question is one minute. So, you just put your question and please don’t make long statements because you won’t have enough time to complete your intervention.
Ms B TSHWETE: Will the Deputy President explain the importance of respecting national sovereignty of other countries and the importance of working through diplomatic channels regional, continental and international multilateral institutions in the international relations architecture of our country so that Deputy President you assist, hon Herron?
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Tshwete, I thought he already heard me. But just to ... Okay, I nearly said just to rub it in. So, I won’t say to rub it in. But you are quite
right, hon member, that what keeps us together – let me start with the continent. What keeps us together in a very stable environment is because we have institutions and forum, multilateral institutions. That’s what also keep the world together where we are able to deposit our views, our proposals and persuade others.
So, you are quite right, the respect for sovereignty is key in building stability in the way nations relate. So, I can’t agree with you more that we need to respect the sovereignty of other countries if we want them to respect our sovereignty as well. So, where there are differences, we must persuade one another. And that’s why we create these various institutions, engage, because they work. And I think there is a history that shows that these institutions are very useful. They work.
So, hon Herron, we will be engaging with other counties on this matter to seek to persuade them to move with our position. But I think we must be careful not to think we can impose our will everywhere. Thank you very much.
Ms E L POWELL: We talk about sovereignty but we also have protocols and charters as the African Union and Uganda is
indeed part of the African Union. Sorry, hon Deputy President, as we celebrate Africa Day, we notice that the African Union agenda for 2063 with continent and with universal ... [Inaudible.] ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Hon member, just give her the opportunity, please. Can you mute the microphone of the hon Motshekga. Hon Motshekga, pleace follow proceedings and don’t switch on your microphone.
Ms E L POWELL: South African Charter on human and people’s rights seeks to uphold these rights and any member state of the African Union can make referrals to the African courts on human rights where a state is actively violating human rights. Is the Deputy President willing to stand at the podium and to openly condemn Uganda’s state stance to homophobia? And as the Deputy President, able to confirm whether South Africa will be willing to refer this matter to the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights for investigation? And if not, why not?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick) Hon Deputy President, before you respond I want to remind members. Order! A follow up question is one question. Not three questions.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: So, I will only answer the first one. Am I prepared to condemn? I am prepared to engage. I think is a most constructive way. Thank you very much. We will be engaging them.
Ms Z MAJOZI: Hon Deputy President, given that historical the rights of the overlook and marginalised group of people who engage in same sex sexual relations have been closely link with the HIV and Aids pandemic both national and international. In your role as a leader of the SA National Aids Council in the countries integrated response to the challenges facing HIV and Aids has the utterances of the Ugandan government posed a challenge to the South African government that, we should then formulate a programme in place so that advocate for the LGBTIQA+ because this is a universal issue and that will emphasise that South Africans should adopt anything that would come from the South African government but from outside things?
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Chair, in the SA
National AIDS Council, Sanac, we have been discussing a lot of these issues including a programme. Deputy President is the Chair of Sanac. So, we will be discussing these issues in that
platform. I agree with a member that we should seek as South Africa to develop our positive values and engage others with the view to persuade them in our positive values. And I think Sanac for us is a good platform because sometimes it’s easy to stigmatise people. And in Sanac, we saw it as a big problem where people don’t even reveal the problems they have because they stigmatise and so on.
So, I think we must avoid that as much as possible and deal with the problem. And Sanac is a good platform for us to deal exactly with what you are raising. Thank you very much.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Thank you very much, Chairperson. We share the same sentiment with the hon member that families are a basic and essential building block of any society, and collectively, have a crucial role to play in building socially cohesive communities.
The family bears the primary responsibility for the socialisation of children, instilling values of responsible citizenship and belonging in society, and provision of emotional support for its members. Strengthening the role of
the family is the protection of the children. Hence we have decided that annually we must commemorate national Child Protection Week to raise awareness of the rights of children as articulated in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa and the Children’s Act.
Next week from 28 May to 4 June we will mark Child Protection Week under the theme, “Let us Protect Children during COVID-19 and Beyond”. This we must do because in society when a child is wrong the question is always asked, “Who is the family of this child?” You know I have been telling one of my friend and I said that if you walk out of Parliament here and you see a young child on the street there eating and sniffing glue, the first thing you’ll ask is ...
Ke ngwana wa mang?
In other words ...
Ubuya kumuphi umndeni?
So, that emphasise the importance of family. People don’t start by saying that this child is naughty, they start by asking: “Whose child is this?” “Which family does this child come from?” So, the point we are making is that families are important in the upbringing of the children for the future and the future of our country. We will continue to mobilise all sectors of society to protect children, especially in the most vulnerable communities.
We must also begin to institutionalise the commemoration and celebration of family day or family days, which was declared in 1995. Family Day celebrations thereof include a range of activities and events that are geared towards bringing families together. These include family picnics, braais, and outings to parks and recreational areas. It also includes families giving to the needy and destitute in our communities and thereby teaching the spirit of Ubuntu – that is caring about others.
Motho ke motho ka batho.
Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu.
However, we acknowledge that many families are facing serious challenges of poverty, lack of access to basic services and social ills related to alcohol and drug abuse, teenage pregnancies, gender-based violence and femicide - to mention but just a few.
Many of the social ills that we are grappling with as a country are a result of either a weak family system or families that have in fact disintegrated. Supporting resilient families, and by extension society and the economy, is the ethos that underlies the design of all of our government interventions.
It is on this basis that the government will be tabling the revised White Paper on Families during this financial year. If I may just say briefly just to remind ourselves what the White
paper seek to deal with: Firstly, to provide guidelines and strategies for promoting family life and strengthening of families. In turn the promotion of family life would enable families to fulfil their requisite roles and responsibilities in society, and ultimately make them catalysts of progress and national development; secondly, the White Paper seeks to serve as a vehicle to co-ordinate interventions that help the family from further disintegration and vulnerability; thirdly, change the unfavourable conditions affecting families and communities and lastly strengthen partnerships with the communities, civil society organisations, traditional leaders, religious organisations, and the private sector – we need everybody.
In addition, the Department of Social Development is working with civil society organisations on implementing parenting and intergenerational programmes that seek to build positive relations between children and their caregivers. Further, the government has established the intersectoral forum comprising of representatives from government departments, civil society organisations, business and international organisations to ensure proper coordination of services to families, share best practice models and identify service delivery gaps.
Strong families build stronger and more cohesive societies or communities, which in turn contribute to nation-building. It is therefore incumbent upon all of us to play our role in our own families, to advance our common national agenda. It is in the family that our young people first learn moral and ethical values, which give meaning to their lives.
We call especially on all men ...
... in our country to step up and be present in the lives of their children and their families. We must, therefore, continue to work collectively as social partners to implement socioeconomic programmes that seek to lift families out of poverty and hopelessness. I thank you.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Thank you, hon Deputy President. I have been informed that the hon Mahlaule will be in charge of the first supplementary question on behalf of the hon D Moela, in accordance with Rule 137 subrule 10 paragraph (a), I now recognise the hon Mahlaule.
Mr M G MAHLAULE: Thank you very much, Chairperson. Thank you, Deputy President for your emphasis on the centrality of the family as a basic unit of society and also for emphasising the need for mobilising fathers to take the lead in the fight against gender-based violence and femicide. Hon Deputy president, there are institutions in the community that can play a critical role to build social cohesion in communities in addition to families. These institutions include religious institutions and institutions of traditional leadership. How will the Deputy President mobilise these institutions through the moral generation movement within the context of social compact to build social cohesion in communities? I thank you.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Thank you very much, hon Chair. Thank you, hon Mahlaule. We want to get everybody involved – religious leaders, churches, traditional leaders, but also hon member, the Department of Arts and Culture has been at a forefront of ensuring the building of social cohesion in the country. And I remember in 2012, we even adopted some principles that underpin the building of a cohesive society. But also, there is moral regeneration movement which we have to work with and of late in fact the moral regeneration movement have indicated that they would
like to once again partner with us to address issues of social cohesion.
So, yes, we will do exactly that – we will make sure that we work with other institutions, focus on issues of moral regeneration as raised by the moral regeneration movement, but also support the Department of Arts and Culture in their work to strengthen the issue of social cohesion because, as I said earlier, cohesive societies in a way are a very string building block or a united nation for a nation that is strong and that is able to develop. So, if you want to talk about nation-building, you have to support elements of social cohesion.
Let me just indicate some of the issues that the Department of Arts and Culture have been working on in their programme of social cohesion and nation-building. They had strategic objectives of the compact that they entered with other partners for advancing constitutional democracy and human rights and equality, promoting nonracialism, nonsexism, quality and human solidarity, building unity amongst South Africans as well as the region. And lastly, encouraging healing of individuals and communities. All this make it
possible for the thriving of strong families in our communities. And we will continue to support this issues that are handled by the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture as they are the leader in our country to deal with issues of social cohesion. Thank you very much, hon Chairperson.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Thank you very much, Deputy Minister. Deputy President, my apologies. The second supplementary question to the Deputy President will be asked by the hon Malatsi.
Mr M S MALATSI: Mr Deputy president, according to the Children’s Institute based at UCT, there are approximately
25 000 child-headed households in South Africa – the majority of these are in Limpopo, Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal and all of us know the pain and difficulty that comes with growing without a parent. And I think we can agree that the hardships that they represent to children can be dilapidating. You said in your response that stronger families can build stringer societies. On the basis of that, what is your government doing to support children from these child-headed households to empower them with the opportunity like other children to enjoy a fulfilling life and a stable family environment beyond the
issuing of social grants that they used to survive on. Thank you.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Indeed, we can’t
celebrate because we give mothers grants because we know that it doesn’t end there. That is why I was quoting for you what the White Paper seeks to achieve. So, yes, you know child- headed families sometimes comes as a result of problems that could be avoided – as I said earlier that sometimes families disintegrate. But also, there is a situation where child- headed families are as a result of both parents having passed on. It’s not just integration. So, we need to be emphatic – as government we must show empathy, we must find a way of supporting these children. And I am sure that the Department of Social Development is looking at these issues.
As we develop the White Paper, this is one of the issue that we are looking at because when you are a child, you are not really already at the stage of running a family. So, you can understand the burden on such a child. So, I am happy that you’ve raised this matter that we must look into it. And definitely I think I will say the participation of many of you as we go through this White Paper and pushing it faster, we
would be able to address these issues that affect us. So, we will take that into consideration. Thank you very much.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Thank you, hon Deputy President. The third supplementary question will be asked by the hon Mashabela.
Ms H O MKHALIPHI: CHAIR, I AM NOT SURE BECAUSE SHE IS online,
but I will assist. I hope that you are not going to ask me to answer ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Yes, proceed hon member.
Ms H O MKHALIPHI: Deputy President, this country is the most unequal in the world, and that inequality is largely based on race. It has one of the highest rates of unemployment, excessively high crime rate, particular sexual crimes. There is a general sense that the government – your government, does not know how to resolve many of the problems we have and it permits chaos and disorder. How is it possible therefore to foster social cohesion when the conditions are such that there
is growing disunity and mistrust in society based on material lack?
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Mkhaliphi, our government – me and you - is not in disorder, and does not allow disorder. What we need to do, hon Mkhaliphi, for our government, me and you ... Are you now denying your government? Okay, let me leave you out then. Our government - leaving you out, will address these issues to ensure that there is no disorder.
I would be surprised in fact if I was to find any government in the world that promotes disorder. I think it doesn’t exist. There is no government that promotes disorder. So, we are going to do everything in our power to ensure that children are supported. We are not doing a White Paper because we are bored. We are doing it because it is needed to address these challenges. So, I hope you are preparing your input in that regard. If you want to see children protected, then we are waiting for your input. Thank you very much.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Thank you, hon Deputy President. The last supplementary question will be asked by the hon Hendricks.
Mr M G E HENDRICKS: Thank you very much, hon Chair and greetings hon Deputy President. Deputy President, we will fatherhood form the core of the White Paper. Will you take a lead, hon Deputy President – the same lead that Chief Albert Luthuli took where he made fatherhood very important and every morning he has breakfast with the family and at night he had supper with the family to show that the father is the central core of the family. And behold, if anyone of his tender children did not attend these breakfasts, and after evening supper. So, Deputy President, what role will a father play in the White Paper that you are driving?
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Thank you very much, hon Ganief. Oh yes indeed, we have to lead by example. So, I can’t come here and say to all of you that family is important but when I walk out of here, I do something different. So, hon Ganief, definitely, I am sure many of us here like having breakfast at home, but we are not always home. You know, some of you are staying in villages and you are not at home. But
surely, when we are at home, that is what we do – that’s what we should do. So, we take the comments of the hon Ganief very seriously.
I said earlier that good parents, including fathers of course, because mothers normally do it naturally but we are urging fathers that it’s okay to take your children to a park, hon Skwatsha – it’s okay. You are still a man if you take your children to ... It’s okay, you are still a man if you play with your children when you are at home. Because you know sometimes fathers think to be macho is to stay away from the children, but in fact if you see children who grow well, who have positive values in society are those who spend lot of time with their parents – including their fathers. So, we are urging the fathers ...
Hon Ganief, I will take the lead, and we must all take the lead as hon members to be there for our families. If we are not at home and we are in Cape Town, when we get home let’s go and have breakfast with our families and dinner. Hon Gungubele, I know you run a lot but when you are free go home and have breakfast. In short, hon Ganief, we take your challenge, and let’s lead by example. Thank you very much.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Hon members, that concludes questions to the Deputy President. I thank the hon Deputy President.
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Thank you very much, Chairperson.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Thank you.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Hon members, I now would like to recognise the hon M G E Hendricks, who in terms of Rule 91, has requested an opportunity for a personal explanation to the House.
Mr M G E HENDRICKS: Thank you very much, House Chair. I thank you for the opportunity to express and read into record my explanation in terms of Rule 91 (2), in light of the demand made by the DA that I be investigated for committing an act of misconduct. I want to state upfront my extreme discomfort in being required to discuss matters of such personal nature on such a public platform. The matter in question is deeply private. However, I swore an oath, which I take seriously. So the sharing must follow.
Firstly, I categorically state that at no point in my address in question that I wilfully and deliberately ignored instructions from the hon Chairperson. It is however my misfortune that I have a hearing impairment and I resultantly have great difficulty in hearing someone when they are not addressing me in front of me where I can be aided by visual cues. That’s by virtue of the position that I was in. I was unable to hear the instructions from the hon Chair. ... [Inaudible.] ... evidence by lack of malicious intention when the sergeant-at-arms approached me to explain the instruction of the presiding officer, though admittedly taken by great surprise, I immediately and without quarrel, complied with the request for me to leave the Chamber.
I’m currently seeking treatment to alleviate my impairment. For the past year, I have tried to correct my hearing disability through various specialized hearing aids. It costed me up to R50 000.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Order, hon member.
Mr M G E HENDRICKS: This costly exercise has however have limited effects. I do beseech accommodation and understanding
from the House as I navigate these challenges. From my part, I will certainly be more vigilant about minding my time in future, particularly under the circumstances of my disability. I must say I was utterly embarrassed by the incident.
I apologize that my conduct may have come across as disrespectful to the hon Chair and members present. To a certain not intentionally done, I stand in utter embarrassment, and I hope the DA has gotten ... [Inaudible.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Order, hon member.
Mr M G E HENDRICKS: ... as a result thereof. I have submitted a written apology regarding this matter and extend my gratitude to the Deputy Speaker who has accepted the apology, and he expressed his appreciation for it.
But the ... [Inaudible.] ... allow me to take this opportunity to also explain my conduct at the recent virtual meeting of members. At that meeting I was chastised by the chairman for speaking from a virtual platform. However, this was due to my inability to have been present at the Whips meeting where I
believe it was agreed that members should refrain from doing so. ... [Inaudible.] ... currently represents small parties in Whips meetings, and the record or report of this agreement have not reached me. I unfortunately relied on my experience attending other virtual meetings of the House. Even during ... [Inaudible. ... meetings I attended, I was allowed to address the virtual forum and each so even while I was in extreme pain. Allow me hon House Chair, thus to apologize for any inadvertent misstep. Thank you very much, hon House Chair.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Thank you, hon member. Hon members, we now move to the first motion on the Order Paper, which is a motion in the name of the Chief Whip of the Majority Party. I now recognise the hon Chief Whip of the Majority Party.
Mrs E N NTLANGWINI: On a point of order, House Chair.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Yes, what’s the point of order, hon member?
Mrs E N NTLANGWINI: House Chair, these people that wants to apologize, can we have that on the program or on the Order
Paper because he just comes here and make some long speech of a state of the nation address on the name of an apology. So can we next time just have it more organized and plan and put minutes to it because we can’t listen to such long apology of some person. Thank you.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Hon members, order.
Mrs E N NTLANGWINI: Wasting our time.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Hon members, you must read the Rule book. Here’s the Rules. In terms of Rule 91 sub Rule (2), and I will read it for you. A member may also, with a prior consent of the Presiding Officer, explain matters of a personal nature, but that such matters may not be debated. And the member must confine himself or herself strictly to the vindication of his or her own conduct and may not speak for longer than three minutes. That’s perfectly in order with the Rules, and that’s why it was allowed. Hon members, order. If you would have listened, then you would have heard what the member said, and it is not up for debate according to the Rules. If you want to have any further input on it, write to the Speaker. I now recognize the Deputy Chief Whip.
NOMINATION OF A PERSON FOR APPOINTMENT AS PUBLIC PROTECTOR
The Deputy Chief Whip of the Majority Party: House Chair, I move:
That the House –
(1) notes that the term of office of the Public Protector expires on 14 October 2023; and
(2) resolves, in accordance with section 193(5) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, to establish an ad hoc committee to nominate a person for appointment as Public Protector, the committee to –
(a) consist of 11 members, as follows: ANC six, DA two, EFF one and other parties two.
(b) further consist of 14 non-voting members of the Assembly, as follows: ANC two, DA one, EFF one and other parties 10;
(c) exercise the powers in Rule 167 that it may deem necessary for the performance of its task; and
(d) the report to be tabled to the House by
31 August 2023.
I so move.
Motion agreed to.
ESKOM DEBT RELIEF BILL
(Consideration of Report)
The Deputy Chief Whip of the Majority Party moved: That the Report be adopted.
There was no debate.
Motion agreed to (Democratic Alliance, Economic Freedom Fighters and African Christian Democratic Party dissenting).
Report accordingly adopted.
ESKOM DEBT RELIEF BILL
(First Reading debate)
The Acting Minister of Finance (Mr M Gungubele): Hon Chair, Hon Deputy Minister of Finance Mr Masondo, Ministers and Deputy Ministers present, Hon Members of Parliament, His Excellency the Deputy President, thank you, Hon Chair and Hon members for this opportunity to present the Eskom Debt Relief Bill. The introduction of this Bill comes at a time where the security and reliability of supply of electricity is on top of the mind of all South Africans and rightfully so.
Last year during the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement, the Minister of Finance announced that the National Treasury is leading a process to finalise a debt relief programme designed to restore Eskom to efficiency and financial sustainability.
At the time the Minister of Finance reminded us that while we have spent billions of rand supporting Eskom, there have been limited improvement in the reliability of electricity or the financial health of the company. it was clear that, as the
government, we needed to adopt a different approach, an approach that will strengthen the balance sheet of the utility enabling it to restructure and undertake the investment and maintenance needed to support the security of the electricity supply. An approach that will allow Eskom to focus on planned performance and capital investment and ensure that it no longer relies on government bailouts. It’s our view then, and it remains our view now that an optimally designed debt relief arrangement with the right conditions can be leveraged to support the structural reform of the electricity sector that will enhance South Africa's long-term growth prospects.
Following extensive technical work and consultation, in the 2023 Budget Speech, the Minister of Finance proposed a total debt relief arrangement for Eskom of about R254 billion. This proposed arrangement consists of two components. One is an amount of R184 billion, which represent Eskom’s full debt settlement requirement in three trenches over the medium term. Second is a direct takeover of up to R70 million of Eskom’s loan portfolio in 2025-26. The Eskom Debt Relief Bill, a money Bill, was tabled to give effect to the debt relief arrangement. Again, there are several key elements of the
Eskom Debt Relief Bill, and it is worth highlighting some of these here.
Firstly, the Bill proposes that National Treasury advance the amounts envisaged as a loan to Eskom on the dates determined by the Finance Minister. Secondly, the Bill enables the Minister to impose conditions for the conversion of portions or portions of the amount of the loan for each financial year into shares issued by Eskom to the state. Thirdly, the Bill requires that National Treasury in its quarterly reports to the relevant parliamentary committees to report on Eskom’s compliance with the conditions and disclose the amounts of the conversions. Compliance by Eskom with the conditions will be over a period of three years commencing from the date of the first advance.
Failure by Eskom to achieve and or adhere to specific conditions will cause the loan amount from that quarter to be repaid to the National Revenue Fund at market rates at the end of the period. [Inaudible.] ... such payments the government will offer Eskom one quarter to rectify noncompliance.
Quarterly meetings between the National Treasury. The Department of Public Enterprises and Eskom will take place to
ensure progress is made in achieving these conditions. It is also expected that the board will sign off on a quarterly basis on the compliance with conditions because of the structure of the debt relief, Eskom will not need further borrowing during the debt relief period. This step in combination with the tariff announced by the energy regulator this year will allow Eskom to undertake the investment and maintenance needed, resolve the electricity challenges currently faced by the country. In addition, National Treasury has appointed an international consortium headed by VGBE. Energy Service, comprising of ... [Inaudible.] ...Energy Services, ... [Inaudible.] ... Power and Heat, a... Energy Knowledge, and RWT Technology International, to undertake an independent assessment of Eskom’s coal power plants. The consortium has already concluded the site visits of all 14 coal power stations and transmission division, and the project is expected to be concluded by July 2023. Thank you. Thank you, Hon Chair. [Time expired.]
Mr N S BUTHELEZI: Hon Chairperson, Hon Deputy President, Hon Chief Whip. Hon Deputy Chief Whip, Hon members, Hon Acting Minister of Finance, Hon Ministers and Deputy Ministers, Ladies and gentlemen, may you have a happy Africa Day and
remember all those martyrs who perished for the liberation of our beautiful continent. The ANC supports the 2023 Eskom Debt Relief Bill.
What is this Bill about? It's not just about numbers. This Bill is about protecting lives and livelihoods. It's about supporting the economy. It's about supporting, protecting, and creating jobs for young people and all South Africans. This Bill is about food security and fighting hunger and starvation.
We boldly say this because without electricity security, all these things we mentioned above cannot be achieved. Therefore, as you as sent to this podium, be warned that saying no to this Bill, you'll be saying to the unemployed, the farmers, the industrialist, you do not care about their plight. Let them fend for themselves.
Nibatshele abantu baseNingizimu Afrika ukuthi nina nithi uHulumeni akangayingeni indaba kagesi. Abazibonele ukuthi baphuma kanjani.
Let take this opportunity and congratulate our Minister of Finance Enoch Godongwana for being recognised by the continent as the Minister of Finance of the Year. Congratulations, Minister. Other conditions of the Bill include the
R254 billion which can only be used to pay debt and interest. When Eskom disposes of its noncore assets, the proceeds should be used to decrease the debt. We're also saying as the committee that Eskom should be allowed to invest in energy generation, especially the future of electricity, the renewables like solar, wind, hydropower, and nuclear.
In any case, that's what the energy mix is about. If Eskom does not, it would mean it would be perpetually dependent on the private sector. Moral hazards keep on rearing its ugly head. Basically what that means is that there is a danger of Eskom saying, “we are too important and too big to fail. The government will always come to our rescue when we mess up.”
Yes, Eskom is critical for lives and livelihood. Yes, we won't allow it to fail, but let the people who mess up face the consequences. South Africans, through their Parliament are foregoing many things to assist Eskom. The opportunity costs
in terms of schools, hospitals, roads are huge. The debt relief of Eskom is just one of the many missing pieces of the puzzle. The question of the municipal debt standing at
R56,3 billion and still growing must be part of the challenges that must be attended to.
We, therefore, support the electricity debt relief for the municipalities. We are ready to assist. However, it'll be an exercise in futility to cancel the debt today and the following day it starts to accumulate. We therefore, support the condition of the National Treasury to insist on prepaid meters. In the same vein we call on all communities, government departments and their entities, business and all users of electricity to pay their bills. We need to address the question of the ... [Inaudible.] ... I'm referring to the group chief executive of Eskom. In the report, we stress that the person appointed to the position would be fit and proper. He must have requisite skills and check record to have operated at the highest level. We are stressing the point of
...singaqhuzulwa yitshe elilodwa kaningi.
A proper ... [Inaudible.] ... and security clearance should be done before confirming an individual. Let us not appoint conservative politicians who masquerade as CEOs. Let us not appoint someone who, instead of managing the organisation, becoming an intelligence officer. Let us not appoint someone who pretends to be CEO only to find out who are appointing Shakespeare. In other words, book writers, for this Parliament to give R54 billion to Eskom, the person at the top should focus on Eskom and Eskom only.
Manjeke malungu ahloniphekile aleNdlu, asingaxabani ngale, sithi laba abaphikisana nalo Mthethosivivinywa mabaphumele obala okwekati elimhlophe ehlungwini. Nithini? Nithi osomabhizinisi abanika abantu abantulayo imisebenzi abangawutholi ugesi? Nithi izingane ezikoleni azifanele zithole ugesi? Nithi abalimi abakhulu nalaba abafufusayo abazibonele uHulumeni angazingeni ezabo. Ngabe nithi abantu abagulayo abasezinhlungwini abalinde ukusizwa abayekwe.
Because the ANC understands that electricity is critical for life’s sustenance and the economy we, therefore, support the Bill. We also urge all Hon members to follow us and support the Bill. This is too important to play petty politics with.
Ngiyazi abanye bazoza bazokhala lana bangasinikezi nesixazululo.
This Bill is providing an important variable in this electricity solving equation.
Ukhongolose uyawuxhasa uMthethosivivinyo. Ngiyabonga.
Ms S J GRAHAM: Hon Chairperson, our people are tired, not just tired...
... ons moeg is nou moeg.
The year 2022 was a tough year for our economy and by all indications, 2023 is going to be worse. Along with external, global factors, load shedding has had a detrimental effect on the South African economy, notably loss of income for 2022 is pegged at R300 billion and is projected to reach R375 billion in this year. While we lost R 61 billion in tax revenue last year, it is likely to be in the region of R75 billion in 2023.
Minister of Electricity, Dr Ramokgopa has already predicted that 850 000 jobs will be shed by the end of this year as a result of the energy crisis. Every job loss impacts our taxpayer base, a diminishing source of revenue for a government that clearly could not manage its way out of a paper bag. Chairperson, we all know that Eskom is in trouble, not because Andre de Ruyter wrote a book, despite what the ANC will have us believe but because of rampant corruption, governance failures and malfeasance.
Eskom is also not suddenly in trouble. Load shedding started
16 years ago. This government had more than enough time to plan and implement solutions to the emerging energy crisis. But, instead of doing what was needed to prevent it from worsening, everything was done to bring the utility to its
knees. And now, South Africans are being asked to foot the bill for a R254 billion bailout over the next three years. The premise upon which this bailout is based lies in the Eskom debt burden of R423 billion, which if alleviated, will go some way to unlocking investment and financing.
It is believed by government that this will restore South Africa’s financial credibility. It is astounding that the ANC is as clueless as to the connection between our financial credibility and their systemic and inculcated corruption, coupled with a total lack of oversight, accountability and punitive action. Aside from the fact that we oppose the bailout on a matter of principle, the DA has specific reservations about this agreement.
The conditions attached to the Bill require that the funding only be used for debt and interest repayments. In addition, no borrowing will be allowed for a period of three years. This will have a significant impact on Eskom’s ability to increase its transmission capabilities, an absolute imperative if the utility is going to facilitate the growth of renewable energy to address the energy crisis. Furthermore, the capital expenditure is limited to maintenance of existing
infrastructure. No new developments may be undertaken. So, while we face a winter of extended hours of load shedding, the Debt Relief Bill appears to counter the Just Energy Transition Investment Plan which leverages $8.5 billion for, amongst others, new and existing transmission build-outs between 2023 and 2027.
Surely the conditions attached to this bailout are counter- intuitive for a government that would have us believe they are serious about ending load shedding.
Mr G G MPUMZA: Hon House Chair, on a point of order: I am rising because...
... eli lungu lithi asinangqondo, uyasithuka.
Is that parliamentary...
...xa esithi asinangqondo?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Please continue hon member.
Ms S J GRAHAM: Thank you Chair, if ever there was a sign that the ANC has run out of ideas, it is now. In 2024, we have an opportunity to turn this country around before it is too late. And, it is almost too late. But it can only happen if we vote the incompetent, corrupt and failing ANC out and vote in a DA government that has the will, capacity and new ideas to fix our beloved country. It can be done and it will be done and with the DA in power next year, it will be done. I thank you.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Hon members, I did not rule on the member because it is a broad statement and it was not directed at any particular person. So, it is part of the debate. It is part of the politics that statements like that are made.
Ms O M C MAOTWE: Hon House Chair, the EFF rejects the proposed Eskom Debt Relief Bill and we reject it for both practical and principled reasons. As the EFF, Chair, we agree that we need to recapitalise Eskom and we need to give Eskom enough money
to maintain its overall generation, transmission and distribution infrastructure. Complete their outstanding work in Medupi and Kusile Power Plants as soon as possible and build additional generation capacity.
However, the Bill before the NA seeks to do the opposite. The Bill aims to provide Eskom with R78 billion in the current financial year, R66 billion, Minister, in the financial 2024/25 year and R40 billion in the 2025/26 financial year as part of the R254 billion debt arrangement. Despite ongoing electricity blackouts House Chair and the real threat of the grid collapse, it is clear that the government under the leadership of the incompetent Mr Cyril Ramaphosa and Mr Pravin Gordhan, whom we told last week that he was way over his head, has no practical plans to salvage the situation.
We want to warn all South Africans in this House today that this Bill is not going to solve any problems if anything it will only fast-track the national grid collapse. An unequivocal conditionality was set for Eskom that the
R260 billion allocated to Eskom’s balance sheet must not be spent on electricity generation. Instead, the money we are told about here today to give to Eskom is to repay the loans.
In fact, part of Mr Gordhan and the Treasury’s agenda to privatise Eskom through this loan was to impose the condition that Eskom must agree to recommendations made by a consortium of some companies that are based in Europe. This is the mess that we are subjected to, today. What is even more shocking is that Eskom was made to agree to this condition even before the so-called team of consortium was even appointed. They did not know what they were agreeing to.
If those people in Europe say come and privatise all Eskom generation, Eskom will have no choice but to privatise generation capacity. That is the mess that we are talking about House Chair. In fact, our correct superior observation is that Mr Ramaphosa and Mr Gordhan were instructed to allow the national grid to collapse so that when those recommendations by Europeans are tabled before us we see them as the acceptable option. This is precisely how capital works. It is known tactic of privatisation driven by greed and undermining everything else with the national interests.
It is indeed a classic case of neo-colonialism par excellence. This Bill we are tabling today should be allocating money to new and additional generation additional capacity to bring
additional electricity to the grid to protect the economy and improve our people’s livelihoods. The Bill should be allocating money to its essential services such as water supply...
Mr B A RADEBE: Hon House Chair, on a point of order: I am rising on Rule 85, the issue of the substantive motion. The Speaker on the floor just said that the President and the Minister were instructed somewhere to collapse Eskom.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Order hon members. Hon member, I am following the debate, you should have raised that point when the statement was made. We have moved on from that point now. Order, hon members. I will not hesitate to ask you to leave the House.
Mr B A RADEBE: Hon House Chairperson, we are expected to raise our hands to the icon. I raised my hand long time ago. That is why I am just coming in now. If the Table Staff can have a look, they will see my hand is up there in the icons. I have already raised my hand ad this a problem because this is not the first time that this thing is happening. I do not know whether there is no one monitoring.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Order, order hon members. I do not want to prolong the discussion on a point of order. We will ask the staff, because they did not alert me when the hand went up, to check the Hansard and I will come back with the concerted ruling on what the member has said.
But please you must clearly indicate and I ask the staff to follow the proceedings so that they can indicate to me as well. You may proceed hon member.
Ms O M C MAOTWE: Thank you very much House Chair. The Bill should be allocating money to insulate essential services such as water supply, clinics, small and medium enterprises and other essential infrastructures from damages that may occur as a result of electricity blackout or a complete grid collapse. We should be allocating money to floating storage regasification. We should be allocating money to both hybrid off grid and micro grid electricity solutions for metropolitan municipalities and strategic sectors such as agriculture to ensure food security.
House Chair, we should be allocating money for comprehensive conditional grant for metropolitan municipalities and all municipalities for hybrid and off grid because clearly there
are no solutions that are going to come on the national government. We should be allocating money to attract investment in all special economic zones for manufacturing solar panels, inverter batteries and all other electronic equipment that are essential for hybrid and off grid solutions.
The Bill that should be before the NA to seek our approval for the allocation of money should a Bill that seeks to give our people in informal settlements and townships immediate and practical solutions to deal with electricity blackouts. It should be a Bill that seeks to give small businesses some relief so that they could continue to operate when the national grid is under pressure. But we know there is no capacity. We do not understand why the Minister of Enterprises has not resigned because we told him earlier this week that he has failed the people of South Africa and he must resign.
Any Bill to pass should be to provide our people with dependable electricity today instead of trying to praise greedy capitalists obsessed with making profits even at the expense of the lives of our people. House Chair, we want solutions for our people. Solutions that would change the
lives of our people for the better. We do not want some European recommendations driven by greed and the love for profit over the lives of our people as it is the case right now. Our people deserve affordable, uninterrupted, sustainable and dependable supply of electricity. The EFF rejects the proposed Eskom Debt Relief Bill. Thank you Chair.
Mr E M BUTHELEZI: Thank you very much, hon Chair, greetings to the committee chair, Shenge, Mvulane, as members of this House we find ourselves stuck between the rock and the hard place with regards to the ever ongoing financial collapse of Eskom. Furthermore, our country’s utility cannot fulfil its mandate which is to generate, transmit and distribute electrify to all South Africans. Eskom has been experiencing serious financial and operational challenges due to government failure malfeasance, and this has been going on for the past two decades.
I say we are stuck because members of this House have no other choice than to support this Debt Relief Bill. If we don’t support this Bill, South Africa risks a total blackout. It is more shameful that we have been held hostage by this ailing state-owned entity. Eskom has certainly become big to fall,
and the government has been dragging its feet in fixing the mess that we find ourselves in. In fact, House Chair, this government is not dragging its feet, but it’s totally responsible for the mess that we find ourselves in.
Billions of bailout has been going to Eskom each and every year. Yet, we see no significant changes taking place. All we can get from Eskom is various stages of load shedding, scandal after scandal, implicating top management of Eskom and senior politicians seated on my right. How long will this continue, hon Chairperson? How long will take for Eskom to become feasible again? We have taken money from all South Africans in a form of taxes to cover debts, liabilities and mishaps in Eskom. Yet, the cost of ordinary household electricity has skyrocketed in the recent years. We can’t really keep our lights on in public institutions. That is one thing that we know for the fact ...
... inkawu ayibulahli ubuso bayo.
Hon Chair, our people are suffering. The effect of load shedding has been catastrophic to their lives and livelihood. Our economy is failing and the moral in this country is ... [Inaudible.] ... all time low. Wouldn’t be here in this situation writing cheques to Eskom to the tune of R254 billion had the ruling party not interfered in the management of Eskom, looting its coffers, captured it service providers. In this case, we are doomed if we do and doomed if we don’t.
Therefore, the IFP will lend its support to this Bill so that we don’t find ourselves embarrassed of the total blackout. So the IFP supports Mvulane. I thank you, Sokwalisa. I still have time 59 minutes.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Mr Buthelezi, you must address the Chairperson.
Mr W W WESSELS: Thank you, hon House Chairperson, the hon Buthelezi says that the ANC understands that electricity is crucial to the economy, to livelihoods, and the lives of our people. The question is: Why did the ANC not realise this and understand this 16 years ago, when the crises started? But then, when the crises started, and the ANC government was warned, about the capacity constraints of Eskom, when load
shedding started in 2007 the ANC government and the ANC in this House, allowed the worst capture of the state-owned entity in the form of State Capture.
The ANC allowed corruption, allowed exploitation, where products such as a florescent light, was procured by Eskom for more than R2 000 where you can buy it in a shop for a R100.
That’s what your government allowed. That is why we are in this situation. And then the hon Buthelezi says that this Bill is about protecting lives and livelihoods. But what the ANC does not understand is this is a catch 22 situation created by the ANC. It can’t be saved by the ANC now because you created it. Your former President Zuma allowed this. His cronies, the Guptas, did this. Your cadres that you appointed at the state- owned entity did this to this county. Now you say this Bill is about protecting lives and livelihoods. But this Bill will not keep on the lights.
This Bill is not going to stop load shedding, because this Bill is not going to give money where it is needed to build generation capacity. And that is what is needed. It seems to me, hon Chairperson, that a lot of discussions in committee meetings and in this House, that a lot of members to my right,
do not understand why there is load shedding. They think load shedding should just stop. I heard that in committees. Saying to Eskom, please just stop load shedding. They can’t. There is no capacity. Do you understand that? And this Bill is only addressing the outstanding debt. You understand that? So, Eskom is owing people money. They owe R423 billion. That is outstanding debt. This Bill is only addressing that. It’s not going to address the fact that there is generation capacity needed.
We need to build infrastructure. We need to generate money so that we build infrastructure. What is Eskom, what is government now doing to get that money? We are hiking tariffs. And that is going to create not a sustainable situation to eliminate poverty and safe livelihoods, Hon Buthelezi. It’s going to create more poverty. So, this Bill is not there to protect livelihoods, it’s going to do the exact opposite.
Because it is putting an unsustainable burden on the fiscus, which South Africa cannot afford and on the other hand it’s not solving the problem.
So what is needed is really practical solutions. And if the hon Buthelezi says that the ANC understands electricity,
explain it to your Minister of Energy, because he does not understand electricity at all. And the solutions that he is currently driving, is again, serving some kind of cadre purpose and not a purpose for a sustainable solution to our energy crisis.
The ANC should wake up and see where the solutions lie. Listen to experts saying what can be done with regards to old coal plants to get money to start with renewable energy and to actually get generational capacity going. This Bill does not serve its purpose and the FF Plus rejects it.
Mr S N SWART: House Chairperson, the power crisis besides devastating household and businesses, it’s eroding the nation economic growth prospects, disrupting the supply chain and stocking inflation. And public anger is understandably growing about the government’s inability to deal with this crisis.
The average citizen just wants the loadshedding not only to be reduced but to be removed. It is having an increased negative impact also on the nation psychic, on the citizen’s mental health and this is deeply concerning to the ACDP.
Now, this situation has to be considered against the background of this bill today. A background of R254 billion basically a bailout to Electricity Supply Commission, Eskom. It is significant that the Financial and Fiscals Commission in its report warned that government debt was projected to increase to due to this debt already for arrangement, and the increase market lending debts. With debt service cost increasing from R307 billion to R397 billion, that is a staggery R90 billion increase.
Now, the ACDP shares concerns that have been expressed ten years. One does seem feel between a rock and a hard place, given this bail out. But there’s also the addition of what hon Buthelezi from my right referred to as the moral hazard. The moral hazard applies in two regards in this matter. Firstly, Eskom, saying well, we’ve got another R254 billon that will suffice for the time being. And there’s a little loophole here, where it says no new borrowing will be allowed until the end of debt relief, unless the Minister granted. So, there’s another loophole for further bailout.
And of course, the second moral hazard relates to municipal debts which at this stage reached or an amount of R57 billion,
also being written off. This again creates a bad presidency. Now, House Chairperson the ACDP believes that there are massive concerns about this bailout in total. We know as been indicated and myself have been involved in the Eskom inquiry, the levels of corruption, state aided corruption that has resulted in Eskom being sitting in this situation, where it is today.
We are deeply concerned about the impact that this bailout will have on government debts service costs. We have seen today; the Reserve Bank has just hiked our interest rates again by 50 basis points. Minister, this is a challenge to very citizen in South Africa and we do not believe that this is best way to sort out the challenges faced by Eskom. I thank you.
Mr B N HERRON: House Chairperson, if we could generate power from the conspiracy theories for Electricity Supply Commission, Eskom’s malperformance, the electricity failure a facility would be generating a surplus of energy. Among the leading conspiracy presently doing rounds is that Eskom is being deliberately taken down to clear the part for privatisation of electricity sector.
And now the theories, of the meltdown is due to rival ruling party factions. He would stop at nothing even sabotage to win access to the resources the company generates. These theories effectively accord higher meaning to what many simply see as the consequences of systemic incompetence and corruptions.
This enormous Bailout Bill should the state last dance with Eskom. It must be regarded as Eskom’s final opportunity to demonstrate that it has capacity to use taxpayers’ money to fulfil its basic purpose to supply electricity.
The bill seeks to provide a new dawn for Eskom. In the context of a nation that understandably cynical about what another new dawn will bring. The promises to relief Eskom of debt and to provide the state-owned entities, SOEs with necessary financial support, it’s contentious but Eskom won’t survive without it.
Easing its debt burden will enable the company to operate in a more stable financial environment. And by releasing shares the company can ensure that the loan repayment structure doesn’t collapse. The injection of cash will also provide the SOE with funds necessary to repair crumbling infrastructure, that is
presently placing the country on the edge of an economic collapse. That’s the theory.
So, these funds ... [Inaudible.] ... chairperson, the state will have no option but to abandon Eskom and pursue alternative models. We fully comprehend the benefit of state ownership of the electricity sector in a developmental state characterized by radical inequality. But, the they are not actual benefit for state ownership. If those in charge like the skills or the integrity to keep the lights on.
Hundreds of thousands of jobs have been lost due to loadshedding, compounding the hundreds of thousands of jobs lost due to COVID-19.
The situation requires urgent action even if that action is not flawless. We must use this bill to its true potential, monitor expenditure, ensure anti-corruption practices are followed and the path is cleared for a meaningful transition to the renewable energy.
If we don’t achieve these aims, we will be digging a long-term hole that the likes of those pushing power ship deals who are
ready to show our environmental responsibilities will be quick to exploit. We support this bill on the basis of there’s a need for us to best use the asset we currently have at our disposal, rather than seeking an expensive and inefficient alternative. We support the bill with wide open eyes to monitor every move the SOE makes. Thank you.
Mr A M SHAIK EMAM: House Chairperson, the NFP will support this Amendment Bill and support the R468 billion to Electricity Supply Commission, Eskom’. Whilst we support this, we have serious concerns and one of the main concerns is that there has been not a convincing statement why the new Minister of Electricity or anyone that indeed the problem of loadshedding will come to end anytime soon.
And our fear is this, yes, we’ve been pouring a lot of money into state-owned entities, and here again we will be pouring a lot of money into Eskom, do we a choice, I know we don’t ... [Interjection.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Hon Shaik Emam, hon Mashego on the virtual platform, mute your microphone. Please continue hon member.
Mr A M SHAIK EMAM: ... either we don’t and going to darkness tonight or we provide this relief to Eskom, hoping that indeed this will be the last bailout and that Eskom will eventually solve the problems that they are facing in order to provide consistent supply of energy, our electricity to our people.
Electricity in South Africa is not cheap. Businesses are closing, joblessness is rising but there’s no light at the moment. And I think very little is understood about what people are going through as a result of loadshedding.
Now, in supporting this we believe that measures must be put in place to ensure that there’s a short-term solution to the energy crisis, while we are working on the long term and again as the NFP despite cries from various quarters that we must worry about, global warming and the environment. Nobody is worried about the environment in ... [Inaudible.] ... Lamont Ville when for decades people were living with all these emissions from these industries there, which resulted in high levels of asthma, lungs infections and things, it’s because it did not affect you directly.
But having said that NFP will support this budget vote. But we are hoping that something is going to be done, soon. You know we find the Minister of Energy talking about coal, the Minister of Electricity is talking about renewables, so we don’t know where we are leading to. So, we think that we must have coal and we must continue to ... in fact take a lesson from China, build a few power stations while we are working with renewable energy.
But lastly, I want to say while we support this bill, the people in Gaza, have got no energy supply currently as the result of the closure of the Karim Abu Fallah crossing and the restriction of any movement of traffic, including the supply of fuel. All because of the atrocities committed by barbaric state of Israel. The NFP supports this bill. Thank you.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Thank you hon member, order hon members, before I call the next speaker, order. Hon members you will recall that hon Radebe raised a point of order on the alleged utterances that were that was made by the
hon Maotwe, and at the time I said I will consult further and come back with the considered ruling.
I want to draw your attention to rule 92(2) and I want to quote it:
A point of order must be confined only to a matter of parliamentary procedure or practice, or a matter relating to unparliamentary conduct, as defined, and must be raised immediately when the alleged breach of order occurs.
I’ve received the information from table staff and the staff that is monitoring the Information and Communications Technology, ICT platform and indeed the hand of the member was raised a lot later, then when the alleged breach took place. I thus cannot rule on the point of order that was raised by the member. I now invite the hon Mmemezi.
MS O M C MAOTWE: House Chair, so what is the recourse now, because now that the member lied under oath, he lied to this House, under oath, he took an oath of the office.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): No hon member, I have made the ruling if you to pursue it further, you must write to the Rules Committee. Please continue hon Mmemezi.
Mr H M Z MMEMEZI: House Chairperson, hon Deputy President Mashatile, Acting Minister Mondli Gungubele, hon members, ...
... bahlali nonke emakhaya siyanibulisa. Thina be-ANC ...
... and the Appropriation Committee ...
... kule ntsindabadala kacimi-cimi wombane ka-Eskom siza nesisombululo. Oongantweni bona bayajweda kodwa isisombululo, abanaso. Thina bomkhonto onevili sinika u-Eskom isihikahika semali ...
... which is R2,4 billion, not millions but billions.
Senza yonke le nquleqhu ngenza yeempula zikalujaca, abantu beli lizwe lethu kuw onke amakhaya.
The Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan is a critical instrument for South Africa to emerge from the pandemic, wherein the economy will be to provide more jobs and opportunities for those that have been excluded. Although our economy is larger than it was during the height of the pandemic, the energy crisis is posing a serious threat to the full recovery and growth of our economy. President Ramaphosa acclaimed at the state of the nation address this year, I quote.
We know that without a reliable supply of electricity, businesses cannot grow. Assembly lines cannot run. Crops cannot be irrigated, and basic services interrupted.
Households and supermarkets are unable to keep food fresh without a reliable supply of electricity. Our efforts to grow an inclusive economy, create jobs and reduce poverty will not succeed.
The message is quite clear the ongoing load shedding South Africans are experiencing has become a serious constraint on growth and profitability for South Africa’s corporates.
Electricity is the lifeblood of our economy. We welcome the National Treasurer’s efforts of taking over Eskom’s debt to enable the entity to ease pressure on the company’s balance sheet, enabling it to invest in the transmission and distribution of infrastructure. It will allow Eskom to conduct their maintenance required to improve the availability of electricity.
The interventions are essential, as load shedding is undermining the country’s ability to continue its recovery from the COVID-19 lock downs, even as interest rates rise in response to high inflation. According to the latest Reserve Bank estimates load shedding had a negative impact of 2’2% on quarterly gross domestic product, GDP with agriculture, forestry and fishing the most impacted. Mining production, for an example, fell by 3,7% in the Fourth Quarter of 2022.
Persistent load shedding has already hurt production.
The power cuts have serious implications in many areas, such as field crops, fruit and vegetables that rely on irrigation.
Roughly 20% of maize, 15% of soya beans, 34% of sugar cane, and nearly half of the wheat production are produced under irrigation. Red meat, poultry, fishery, wool and dairy product products, all of which require continuous power for their usual activities. Downstream activities such as milling, bakeries, abattoirs, wine processing, packaging and animal vaccine production face similar challenges. This has a negative implication for the end consumer who are faced with rising prices, including greater risk of food insecurity, as farmers are unable to produce food at the expected rate.
What is critical is to remember that the agricultural sector without detracting from the important role of other sectors’ play is everything to our daily lives, everything falls with the agricultural sector.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms G B Boroto): Hon Mmemezi, please take your seat.
Mr A H M PAPO: I want to get clarity from you whether if a member makes a maiden speech, we are supposed to heckle him.
No. hon member, no. Please ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms G B Boroto): No. hon member, no. Please ...
Mr H M Z MMEMEZI: It is everything to our daily lives. Everything starts and falls within the agricultural sector because it starts with a plate of food South Africans need to keep the price of food as affordable and available as possible to everyone. According to the Reserve Bank, South Africa’s economy loses about R899 million a day due to load shedding.
We simply cannot allow this to happen unabated, it would not be sustainable. We need to come with a solution. The government therefore has to do everything within its power to save Eskom and get our economy to function optimally.
Small businesses are disproportionately ... [Inaudible] ... load shedding, particularly those in townships and in rural areas, as they have limited access to alternative energy solution. Sixty-four percent of small businesses stop operations during load shedding and almost 66% have shed jobs as a direct result of load shedding due to increased operating cost, lost revenue and declining margins affecting profitability. This is concerning as our township economy is estimated to be worth R100 billion and providing job
opportunities to about the 17 billion people. If we do not allow government to save Eskom, we are simply saying that our economy must completely collapse.
The question we need to ask is: Can we simply allow the majority of our people to face such a reality? What will allowing such an unpleasant reality mean for our efforts to support corporative and small, micro and medium sized enterprises? [Inaudible] ... we support this Bill.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms G B Boroto):
Mr W W WESSELS: House Chair, I rise in terms of Rule 64(d). is it parliamentary for the hon April to sit in the House with earphones and watch movies?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms G B Boroto): Do we have a ... The Rules says you can’t do that. Unfortunately, we cannot really confirm that, that is what is happening. Everyone has got that on their ears. Order! Order! Hon members, please let us respect the House. Hon Hlonyana, Rule 84 talks of gestures that are unparliamentary. The member that was here, the
fingering that you did ... I will pass. I am just cautioning you. I will pass. Order!
Hon members, Inkosi Mandela and the Deputy minister, mama Zaza I am sorry and you hon Ntlangwini, please stop this thing of talking over each other we can hear you from here. Please stop it. We are in the House let's respect the people on the podium. Lastly, hon Papo and, unfortunately, the respect for a maiden speech is not on the Rules but it's a conversion, and that's what we encourage members to do. Thank you very much.
We now proceed and call on the hon Sarupen.
Mr A N SARUPEN: Madam House Chair, today we are voting on a proposal to transfer R254 billion in excess of 20 billion US dollars, from Eskom to the taxpayer. What this bailout represents is not just the largest government bailout in South African history, but a message to the corrupt that, no matter what you have taken from the citizens of the people, the ANC will bail you out. The citizens will foot the bill. Now why does Eskom have this massive debt burden? Let’s unpack.
Firstly, because of poor project management that led to massive overruns of powerplants.
Secondly, because of the Gupta family with close ties to former President Zuma and other high-ranking ANC officials who used their contacts to secure lucrative contracts and exact control over key appointments in the company such as the Optimum Coal deal which was deemed excessive and unfair and points to corruption and collusion. Let us now forget Trillion Capital Partners, a company linked to the Guptas and global consulting firm Mackenzie. These contracts were tainted with allegations of corruption and irregularities. Let us not forget that Eskom paid a former chief executive officer, CEO R30 million as a golden handshake after serving only 18 months in the positions. This raises serious questions about co- operative governance under the ANC’s cadre deployment and to Eskom.
Of course, there are other numerous irregularities that have been uncovered into Eskom’s coal supply contracts and allegations are now in the public domain and a ... that the ANC seems suspended. So much more condemning that they’re spinning harder than someone who paid R12,5 million for a book recently. But these inflated prices there’s conflicts of interests and awarding of contracts to politically connected individuals and entities highlights a pattern of corruption
with an S comes procurement processes that has not been resolved before you want to give them R254 billion.
Let us not forget of course tender rigging and kickbacks. This is why Eskom is also in its debt situation. There have been so many allegations of tender rigging and kickbacks involving Eskom officials and contractors. These corrupt practices involve inflating prices, colluding with suppliers and accepting bribes in exchange for awarding contracts at the expense of the public. Now this Bill will not alleviate load shedding. It will not alleviate poverty; it will not alleviate unemployment because the systemic issues that Eskom have not been addressed. So, what we need to know is that this week’s Bill expects us to turn a blind eye to the rampant corruption and policy failures that have got us into this mess in the first place. It sends a message that South Africans must tolerate brazen thefts. It says that the ANC’s culture of impunity, and self-enrichment must continue. And unfortunately, it means that loadshedding and power outages will continue to be the grim daily sign of ANC’s misrule. So, it’s shameful that this Bill is before us without any meaningful action against the corrupt practices. that have taken place under their watch.
We cannot agree to any bailout without justice and accountability for the crimes at Eskom. The Gupta families get to enjoy their time in Dubai but not a single one is in jail. So, there should not be a bailout and there should be an immediate and thorough investigation into the web of corruption and mismanagement that former CEO Andre de Ruiter has identified and the guilty should be held to account regardless of their political connections. The only way we’re going to fix Eskom is if we break the ANC stranglehold of Eskom and have a complete overhaul of the system that purchase corruptions from its very foundations. Bailouts are the tool of the ANC to cover up their failures and we must reject this abuse of public funds.
As the opposition, it is our patriotic duty to expose the ANC is corruption and fight tooth and nail against the self- serving agenda. So, we stand with the South African people and we stand against this Bill. Thank you.
Mr O M MATHAFA: No, it is not purple it is plum.
A warm greetings to the Deputy President, the Deputy Chief Whip, Ministers and hon members, fellow South Africans, thank you very much.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms G B Boroto): Order!
Mr O M MATHAFA: Hon House Chairperson, on the 30th of March 2023, in response to an oral question by a member of this House, President Ramaphosa indicated that the primary focus of government was on reducing the severity and the frequency of load shedding through a range of interventions aimed at addressing the challenges faced by Eskom.
The ANC supports this Bill as we believe that it is one of the interventions and that it will assist in the mitigation of the negative socio impact on the country and South Africa in general, resulting from the nonavailability of electricity.
Hon House Chairperson, as the speakers before mentioned, the debate before us takes place during a period characterised by the relentless and unabated hikes in interest rates. The hon Mmemezi reflected on the economic impact as a result of the nonavailability of electricity. I will elucidate more on the
impact the nonavailability of electricity has on society at large.
The first and most significant is the pressure put on the purchasing power of South Africans, particularly the poorest of the poor. Forty eight percent of respondents in an online research conducted by Twenda in for Quest indicated that most now eat out more than they did before. Seventy five percent now buy less groceries than they did before to reduce the risk of food rotting in the fridge and 67% indicated that the types of meals prepared have changed significantly due to load shedding. The alteration of groceries bought, meal preparation and eating out as mentioned above might lead to increased consumption of fast foods which might not meet the recommended dietary allowance and providing for the nutrient needs of a healthy person. This might develop into unhealthy eating habits that carries potential risk of developing into lifestyle diseases of malnutrition for the poor and obesity for the well to do. The consequences of this might be seeking medical treatment and health care services which are also negatively impacted by power outages.
The hon Swart also touched on another health issue of mental challenges that might be caused by load shedding.
Hon House Chairperson, power outages disrupts the provision of quality of health care services. For these services require reliable and stable electricity supply. Due to the nonavailability of electricity, some specialised surgical procedures cannot be carried out, which leads to backlogs in surgical procedures.
As at the 01 February 2023, the waiting list for operations at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital alone, was sitting at 10 900 patience with a provincial total of just over 35 000. Over and above medical operations, frequent outages and power surges carries the risk of causing damage to medical equipment.
Lifesaving fluids like blood, plasma and medicines require controlled refrigeration temperatures from being spoiled and leading to uncalculatable risks for pertinence who require access to such as part of their treatment regime.
The financial costs of measures implemented by health care providers to mitigate the effects of load shedding to their equipment and processes will obviously be passed on to the
consumer who are struggling financially due to purchasing power.
The nonavailability of electricity also disrupts the conducive environment for effective teaching and learning in many fronts. The main one is the hampering of the functioning of modern schools as we move with the Forth Industrial Revolution, 4IR, developments. Schools are starting to depend on technology that rely on the energy supply. Without which these schools might fall behind of prescribed learning material and curriculum.
Traffic jam caused by traffic lights not working leads to teachers and children arriving late and fatigued at school which has a negative impact on teacher and student moral. At home students are not able to keep up with learning tasks and deadlines. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, teaching and learning has migrated to virtual platforms with many schools, universities and learners having incurred expenses in the acquisition of electronic gadgets.
The education fraternity has accepted this to be the new normal in the development and sharing of new knowledge.
Through supporting Eskom we will preventing the future instability likely to be caused by the nonavailability of electricity.
Hon members, in an attempt to avoid traffic jams, people are now living much earlier in the morning or waiting until living for home much later in the evening. Subsequently facing the risk of falling victim to crime. Statistics SA reports that the number of hijacking victims increased from 64 000 in 2020- 21, to 134 000 in 2021-22. The recent crime statistics also indicates the rise in property crimes to, burglary and theft. Nine hundred and eighty three thousand are reported to have experienced housebreakings in 2021-22 an increase of 34%.
The efforts of the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster led to a decrease in incidents of contact crime. Especially assault and gender-based violence, GBV, in 2018-19. However, this positive shift was short lived as incidents increased by almost 23% in 2020-21 in this shift mirrored of the frequency and the severity of power outages in 2021-22. As such, it should not be difficult to see a relationship between the statistics and the increased in the frequency and the severity of power outages in the same reporting period.
We have no doubt that the reversal of load shedding will lead to a reduction in some of these criminal incidents. Our support for this Eskom Debt Relief Bill is premised on these realities. Simply put, for us this Bill is one of a range of interventions the President alluded to in in his reply in the month of March.
Hon members, electricity is a very important through put in our democratic system, because one of the government’s constitutional obligation is the provision of public goods. Given the country’s painful history of racial segregation, exclusionary practices and state-sponsored oppression and added responsibility emergency which is the duty of ameliorating the living conditions of the indigent communities and rural masses.
By 1994, successive white minority government chose to provide only 40% of the population with access to electricity. Because of Eskom and the ANC-led government, in 2001 this number was sitting at 70% in line with the ANC-led government’s large scale electrification programme achieved in seven years, 75% of what the apartheid government delivered in a century. The programme saw 2,5 million electricity connections between 1994
and 1998. A national total of over seven million households electrified since our democratic breakthrough.
So, for those who led and benefitted the white minority rule, as you act holier than thou today, just remember your past practices including your refusal for Eskom to engage with the ANC with the hope of shaping the future of this country. Eskom as a state-owned company shares the above mentioned constitutional responsibility with government. As we speak, Eskom needs financial support to modernise and strengthen their infrastructure to carry out their important maintenance programme and to service their obligations, something that the hon Wessels and the hon Maotwe missed in this Bill.
Hon House Chairperson, in conclusion, I think the hon Shaik Emam will be pleased that in solidarity with the people of Palestine, the ANC in Tshwane, jointly with the United Muslims of Tshwane will be hosting a Nakba on 27 May 2023 starting at 9:30 at Rosina Sedibe and a formal programme taking place at the Lodium Civic Centre from 11:30.
The hon Sarupen is stack in the past. When all of his today’s debates focused on historical events, he chooses to ignore the
fact that the President appointed the Minister of Electricity in order to strengthen the strategic and management levels of Eskom. You missed to mention such. So, we need to help you in coming out of there.
House Chairperson, the theory that the hon Herron speaks of is the theory that we agree with and as the approach that this Bill will assist to achieve. The conditions added are meant to uphold a particular theory. We thank you and we support this Bill. [Time expired.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms G B Boroto): Hon Acting Minister of Finance, you have two minutes.
The ACTING MINISTER OF FINANCE (Mr M Gungubele): Hon House Chairperson, upfront we want to express our gratitude to this debate. Especially the logic of the NFP and the IFP. The problem of is that the survival of Eskom is critical for the sustainable path towards the security of energy. So, whatever interventions we are making. Already, in terms of generation, five interventions by the President talk to that, but the threat is you must have transmission and distribution infrastructure in place.
If you read the conditions as you can do capital expenditure only to transmission and distribution because we have another way currently under the circumstances of actually securing energy. Now, that is why we are saying financial position balance sheet – I do not want to blame people who do not understand what the balance sheet is and what the financial position is. For you might fight something you do not understand.
We are very clear that Eskom must live and not die for the sustainable path. Therefore, I am not surprised that some of you for three or four years you do not go beyond 11%.
Again, hon member Wessels, I listened to you. Renewable cannot carry us 24 hours. That is why we must optimise Eskom. You will not understand, Sputla because you are not at the same level. So, I do not want to blame you for that. You say he is wrong, but you do not tell us what he should do!
Thank you, hon House Chairperson.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon members, order!
Lunga elihhloniphekileko, Mma Khawula, ithuba ngelami begodu ngiyanibawa.
Bill read a first time (Democratic Alliance, Economic Freedom Fighters, Freedom Front Plus and African Christian Democratic Party dissenting).
ESKOM DEBT RELIEF BILL
(Second Reading debate)
There was no debate.
Question put: That the Bill be read a second time.
The House divided.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Order, hon members, order! I am just looking for a specific Rule. However, what I can say is that, when you call for a division, it should be supported by four members. I am just looking for the Rule number. I know it but I might have forgotten the number. ... [Interjections.] ... no, I am just warning you. You must call them back. If it is not like that ... [Interjections.] ...
Order! Hon members, let me proceed. The doors must be locked now.
Hon members, I just want that Rule to take me forward. I forgot the number. Okay. Hon members, according to Rule 111, it says: Whenever a division is demanded, the Presiding Officer must before ordering a division and bells be rung, must satisfy himself or herself that at least four members support the demand for the division. In this case, the division was called by the DA and they are only two. We don’t count you the EFF. So, at this stage there is no vote, we proceed. ... [Interjections.] ... No, we don’t take online, no, we are talking here in the House. I have Ruled and we proceed. ... [interjections.] ... Let me hear you the Chief Whip of the DA. Order! Order, members. Order! ... [Interjections.] ...
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: House Chair, may I address you.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Alright. Proceed, hon member.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: House Chair, according to the hybrid Rules, people in the House are recognised as both in the House in the Chamber and online, and if the Table checks online, you will find that the DA has four members, two in the House and at least two online. So, I think, please can you just ... [Inaudible.] ... and ... [Interjections.] ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): ... yes, that is allowed, that we can check.
Ms O M C MAOTWE: But also, Chair, you made a Ruling earlier on that the division has been called but now that you see that this thing will not go through, you come with tactics now. It is not allowed, Chair. What you are doing is wrong ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): ... no, no, hon member, actually I don’t even have to respond to you. Let me leave you
as you are. Hon members, the issue is – order, order - the members that are on the virtual platform are counted. So, that is what I missed. And, now we pro ... [Interjections.] ... ai, ai, wait wena [you]! Don’t do those gestures to me. Hon Ntlangwini! Please, stand. Hon Ntlangwini, please stand.
Why do you have to do those gestures as I talked about gestures on Rule 84 just now to me? What is it? Please, switch on your microphone, I asked you a question.
Ms E N NTLANGWINI: No, Chair, with common respect, please, respect me and I will respect you. I have never made a gesture even to you. I said to you, stop being emotional because you are now emotional. ... [Interjections.] ... can we continue with the voting ... [Inaudible.] ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): ... no, look, hon Ntlangwini, I talked about Rule 84.
Ms E N NTLANGWINI: Can we continue with the voting ... [Inaudible.] ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): ... No! you are not going to tell me what to do! I am here to make the Rulings in this House and Chair the session. Listen, hon Ntlangwini, what I am saying is that, why do you do those gestures that I just cautioned one of your members about doing, which is Rule 84?
Ms E N NTLANGWINI: I apologise, hon House Chairperson. Can we continue to vote.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon members, on the Ruling that I made, I got advice that members on the virtual platform are counted, and we have 54 members of the DA on the platform. Thank you for ... [Interjections.] ... that is what points of orders are for. That’s what they are for.
Okay, hon members, the Speaker has determined that in accordance with the Rules, a manual voting procedure will be used for this division. Firstly, in order to establish a quorum, I will request the Table to confirm that we have the requisite number of members present in the House and on the virtual platform to take this decision. Party Whips will then be given an opportunity to confirm the number of their members present and indicate if they vote for or against the Question.
A member who wishes to abstain or vote against the party vote may do so by informing the Chair.
Question put: That the Bill be read a second time.
A quorum being present in terms of Rule 98(1), voting commenced.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: Sorry, House Chair, can we get an indication on the quorum for voting for ... [Inaudible.] ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Yes, I have already asked. They said – unfortunately you did not hear, I did not do it loudly, but it is - yes, the quorum is there. That is why I got your numbers. Thank you. Hon members, I am told that they will verify the numbers. As we vote, we work with the information and communication technologies, ICT, that is able to guide us on the numbers that are on virtual.
Are you talking? Let me finish this process. Thank you. The voting session is now closed. What is your issue, hon member?
Mr M S MALATSI: House Chair, I would just want your direction on this because I want you to reconfirm the numbers from ...
MODULASETULO WA NGWAKO (Mohl M G Boroto): Mohl Malatsi, bolela le nna, papa.
Mr M S MALATSI: House Chair, I would like you to reconfirm the numbers of votes from the ANC because the numbers that they have indicated and the numbers that we have are not the same. So, for the reassurance of direction I would ask that we confirm the numbers because if the numbers are not the same, they would have misled the House.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Don’t worry, hon Malatsi. Okay, hon members, don’t worry. Listen! The information and communication technologies, ICT, and the Table staff will tell us if the numbers are not correct. The numbers that were read for members online are in accordance with what we have. Oh! So, you are counting them? Okay, no problem. No, let’s be fair, don’t worry guys, let’s be fair. That happens! Hon Deputy Chief Whip ... [Interjections.] ... Order, hon members, what is it about? This is not the first time we do
this. They always do it, we always recount and there is no problem! What is the problem?
The DEPUTY OF CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Hon House
Chairperson, thank you very much. The number that I was given for the House was 41, that was counted before the bells rang. Then, on recounting now, we are 38 in the House. So, that is the correct number ... [Inaudible.] ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): ... no problem, that happens all the time and it is allowed. So, what is the noise all about? Alright, we proceed, the voting is closed. I will be waiting for the results. DA you confirmed 12. Okay, I think the 54 was before we started. So, I wanted to confirm with them. Okay, then we are fine. Hon members, the results are as follows:
AYES – 198: [TAKE IN FROM MINUTES]
NOES – 25: [TAKE IN FROM MINUTES]
So, the Bill can be read a second time. Thank you.
Question agreed to.
Bill accordingly read a second time.
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF STANDING COMMITTEE ON FINANCE ON MUNICIPAL FISCAL POWERS AND FUNCTIONS AMENDMENT BILL
The DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Hon Chairperson,
I move that the report be adopted.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon Ntlangwini, will you pleas leave the House. Hon Ntlangwini, will you please leave the House?
Ms O M C MAOTWE: Chair, on a point of order? No, no, no, wait Chair, why?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): No, no, no, hon Ntlangwini?
Ms O M C MAOTWE: Why?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): I didn’t give you permission to speak.
Ms O M C MAOTWE: Wait, wait wait, Chair. Why must she leave the House?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon Maotwe ... please switch off that microphone. I didn’t give you permission to speak. Please switch off that microphone. I’m talking to hon Ntlangwini now. Hon Maotwe, please switch off the microphone. Thank you.
I’m taking to hon Ntlangwini. I don’t want your intervention. Hon Ntlangwini, will you please leave the House. I have said this three times. Serjeant-at-arms, please assist hon Ntlangwini to leave the House.
Ms O M C MAOTWE: You are not recognising me Chair, or must I speak? Are we not allowed to speak now in this House, Chair? Are you our boss?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): I am waiting for on Ntlangwini to leave the House.
Ms O M C MAOTWE: No,no, no. There is no one leaving here. she’s not leaving, she’s not going anywhere Chair.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Okay, it’s fine. Hon Maotwe, I asked you to switch off the microphone.
Ms O M C MAOTWE: My hand is up Chair; you are not recognising me.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon Maotwe, leave the House. Please leave the House.
Ms O M C MAOTWE: This is not your House. You are too emotional. We told you earlier on, you are too emotional.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon Ntlangwini, I am told that you don’t want to leave. I’ll now call the parliamentary protection services to help you leave the room.
Ms O M C MAOTWE: You are too emotional and it’s unlike you.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon Maotwe, please leave the House. For the third time, hon Maotwe, please leave the House.
Ms O M C MAOTWE: [Inaudible.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Serjeant-at-arms, help me remove hon Maotwe from the House.
Ms O M C MAOTWE: Are you emotionally okay upstairs? What happened today? Why are you emotional? This is not your House.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Please, hon Maotwe.
Ms O M C MAOTWE: This is not your House. I don’t know what is happening with you today, you are emotional.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): We want to proceed with Parliament’s work. Hon ... Serjeant-at-arms? Serjeant-at-arms, can they be assisted to leave, please. Thank you.
Hon members, there are rules in this House, and we will follow them. Go and read Rule 67(). We now proceed.
Motion agreed to (Economic Freedom Fighters and Democratic Alliance dissenting).
Report accordingly adopted.
MUNICIPAL FISCAL POWERS AND FUNCTIONS AMENDMENT BILL
(Second Reading debate)
The ACTING MINISTER OF FINANCE (Mr M Gungubele): Hon
Chairperson, hon Deputy President, hon members, the National Treasury in collaboration with relevant stakeholders has embarked on a number of initiatives to review the Local Government Fiscal Framework. One of this initiative is the introduction and development of a legislative framework to regulate the imposition of development charges. Development charges are once off upfront charge levied by a municipality on an applicant as a condition for approving a land development application. These charges are imposed to recover capital investment cost incurred by a municipality to install new upgrade infrastructure associated with the provision of service to the proposed land development.
Development charges are not a new revenue source for municipalities as some municipalities already used development charges to finance increased infrastructure and investment.
Despite their potential scope of providing an alternative option, or financing infrastructure investment, development charges have not been fully utilised by municipalities due to legal uncertainty given that they are currently regulated through various pieces of legislation.
Their sense of bigger rules and guidelines has led to an extensive litigation by applicants to contest the administration and application of development charges. To address these challenges, to provide legal certainties for municipalities who levy development charges, the National Treasury is amending the Municipal Fiscal Powers and Functions Act.
Hon members, the objective of the Municipal Fiscal Powers and Functions Amendment Bill is to establish an unambiguous fair and consistent bases for municipalities to recover development charges for all land development projects that require statutory approval through the municipal land used planning system.
Once enacted, this Bill will ensure accountability and transparency in the establishment connection and expenditure of development charges.
Hon House Chairperson, on 1 October 2019, the Minister of Finance granted approval for the Bill to be submitted to Cabinet for approval to publish for public comment.
Subsequently on 3 December 2019, Cabinet granted approval for the Bill to be published for public comment.
The draft Bill was published for public comment in January 2020. Extensive comments were received from various stakeholders. The refined was resubmitted to Cabinet for approval and to be introduced Bill in Parliament and approval was granted on 17 August 2022.
During the public hearing session detailed written submissions were received from the SA Local Government Association, Salga, and Hendrina Foster and a number of them which are recorded.
Hon House Chairperson, during a briefing in Parliament a public hearings one of the misunderstandings that came up was the fact that the development charges are a new charge and
whether municipalities will be able to collect it. Development chargers are not a new source of revenue as some municipalities are already levying them. The general concept of the development charges is that the urban growth and expansion of new land used development create the need for additional infrastructure services.
The Bill still needs to be presented to the Select Committee of Finance.
Hon House Chairperson, in conclusion, to ensure that municipalities are ready to implement this Bill, the National Treasury has appointed a service provider to assess the capacity of municipalities to fulfil the function of land and the development charges and to identify the necessary technical support that may be required to capacitate municipalities to successfully plan, implement, monitor and to account and report on the implementation of development charges.
A set of tools will be developed to capacitate municipalities to implement this Bill. Furthermore, ministerial regulations and implementation guidelines including development charges,
DC’s, calculator for performer DC policy, bylaw and auctioneering services will be developed. Here we table the Bill. Thank you, hon House Chairperson.
Ms P N ABRAHAM: Hon House Chair, the Standing Committee on Finance having considered the Municipal Fiscal Powers and Functions Amendment Bill 21B of 2022 referred to it, reports the Bill as follows. The Municipal Fiscal Powers and Functions Bill was tabled in Parliament by the Minister of Finance on 22 September 2022. It is an ordinary section 75 Bill dealing with the regulation of the power of the municipalities to levy development charges and related services.
Among other issues, this Bill seeks to empower the Minister of Finance to make regulations for the effective implementation of matters relating to the development charges and to amend the Spatial Planning and Land Use Management referred to as Spluma 2013. In terms of the public participation, the committee was briefed on the Bill on 15 March 2023 and made a call for submissions thereafter. On March 2023, this year, the committee made public hearings which were responded to on May
09. On the date of the public hearings the committee noted that it had received three written submissions but no
stakeholder had requested to make an oral presentation. The Acting Minister has already spoken on who made the submissions.
In developing these amendments, the National Treasury reported to the committee that it consulted municipalities, the Fiscal Financial Commission, the SA Local Government Association, Salga, SA Land Owners Association, the metropolitan municipalities and secondary cities, the National Departments of Rural Development and Land Reform, Human Settlements, Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, Transport and the SA Roads Agency.
The National Treasury further reported that it received several written comments from these stakeholders, all spheres of government, property owners, non-government institutions and the public. It said that after analysing these comments, the Bill was refined where necessary before it was tabled in Parliament. National Treasury also held a feedback session with stakeholders to inform them of the outcome of the public consultation.
The Bill proposes amendments to the Municipal Fiscal Powers Act 12 of 2007. To, among other things, provide a regime for municipalities to levy development charges as the Acting Minister has indicated. The Bill now defines key concepts such as external engineering services, work engineering services, link engineering services, internal engineering services and rebates. The Bill consists of eight main clauses and the amendment also seeks to re-arrange the clauses so that the necessary amendment becomes applicable and legal.
Hon Chair of Chairs, the committee observations are that, yes, we do welcome the amendments proposed in the Bill which seek to establish clear, fair and consistent regime for municipalities to recover development charges for all new land development projects that require statutory approvals through the new municipal land use planning system. The committee notes that the proposal in the Bill seeks to bring out a more standardised equitably and sustainable framework for financing municipal infrastructure based on the benefit principle thus enables applicants to accurately estimate their development charges liabilities and ensure that municipalities are able to provide the required infrastructure timeously.
The committee notes that the benefits of this Bill includes uuniformity across municipalities on the application of development charges which will eliminate unfair competition and or treatment of applicants, both within and between municipal jurisdictions. The committee further notes that the development charges are not new as municipalities already charge this, however, the Bill seeks to bring the much needed framework that will ensure co-ordination and improve municipal fiscal framework.
The committee notes and welcome the written submissions from stakeholders and has started a process by the National Treasury which ensured that when the Bill was presented there were not too many contentious issues. The committee particularly sought to consult with Salga as an autonomous association of all the country’s municipalities and we were pleased that Salga has participated in consultation with all the processes of National Treasury and they had made written submissions to the committee which were all responded to by the National Treasury.
The committee is satisfied that all the issues raised during the public participation process were responded in detail by
the National Treasury with some improvements made in the final Bill, particularly around the issues of definitions between the Bill and the Spluma. The committee notes that the comments made by the Doctor Kenneth Kaunda Municipality contained issues of equitable share which were not relevant to the Bill.
In conclusion hon Chair, the committee agrees with the amendments made in the Bill as reflected in the A-List of the Bill. The committee reports the Bill to be considered. Happy Africa Day to all of you.
Mr A N SURAPEN: Hon House Chair, one of the ANC members asked me to use the step, I'm afraid that the facilities managers have not been able to assist me today.
House Chair, the issue of development charges, of course, as these previous speakers said, are not new. But there are fundamental problems with this Bill and that it doesn't deal with all the problems holistically when it comes to development charges.
And what we must consider when we look at this is to consider the states of local government holistically. As put forth by
many, there are significant challenges regarding the poor financial state and mismanagement of municipalities, particularly ones run by the ANC as Ratings Afrika told us this week. And we need to shed light on these problems.
Why do we have to have development charges? Because we municipalities have limited revenue generating options that got poor and inefficient financial management. In many cases, they've got high debt burdens, they've got terrible cost recovery, limited economic basis, insufficient skills due to cadre deployments and weak governance also due to cadre deployments.
These things are not being resolved by this Bill. The consistency issues around development charges are, but the compliance and enforcement issues are not. Now, these levies, of course, that are raised, and development charges are another form of taxation.
While municipality struggle financial mismanagements, we can't ignore the fact that the financial situations of any municipalities are caused by crippling corruption and
inefficiency, and it's unfathomable that developers must pay these charges when citizens have to bear the brunt of the.
ANC's misrule and they must further shoulder these financial burdens.
When you consider that what goes on, this is a dangerous environment for abuse. There's a track record of fiscal irresponsibility at local government and lack of accountability, and as a result, development charges are resisted and very often taken to court, as was also raised by the previous speaker.
Because municipalities treat this as another revenue source. They don't invest in the infrastructure when they take money from development. So, you'll build a new housing development, you won't upgrade the sewage, you don't upgrade the roads, the money goes into these big parts and is then used to plug other gaps, much like the fuel levy, amongst other things and does not ring fence the amounts.
There are no guardrails, even in this legislation, to ensure that municipalities use it for infrastructure, and it remains a problem and that is why we are in this situation with
municipalities up and down the country using the supplied other revenue gaps when it should not be the case.
And it's because there are too many people in local governments who prioritize self-interest and patronage over the wellbeing of the people they are meant to serve. We must not allow them to use the Bill to further enrich themselves at the expense of getting meaningful development and infrastructure upgrades done.
And of course, because these development charges are used in this way, it has many impacts on housing affordability in the current economic climate, where businesses are closing their doors and are unable to withstand the current destructive economic policies. So, we must not allow this to become another tax.
We must ensure that municipalities engage in clear fiscal discipline; that their ring fence amounts that are given for certain functions; that these amounts are not then taken, including money from the National Revenue Fund that is meant to be ring fenced for grants and often is used to plug short term revenue gaps in municipalities. And then at the end of
the financial year, they've got to stop projects to pay back National Treasury because the money in ringfence was not used appropriately.
So, all in all, this Bill doesn’t address the governance failures as well. And so, we can't support it until such time as those gaps are plugged. Thank you.
Ms H O MKHALIPHI: Let's state from the onset that we don't support the Municipal Fiscal Powers and Functions Amendment Bill. And we'll outline here briefly why we reject the Bill.
Acting Minister, who is going to act forever, the EFF is the only political party that has constantly raised the issue of poor funding in this sphere of local government and misallocations of revenue raised nationally.
The poor funding of the sphere of local government due to mismatch and misallocation is a product of a narrow-outdated ideology of selling municipal basic services to our people for cost recovery purposes.
Simple put, the National Treasure believes that our people have enough money to pay for all processes to provide clean, drinkable water, the collection of waste and refuse, the provision of service delivery and many other services, including the building of roads, the cutting of grass and the provision of sports facilities. This is extremely misguided.
House Chairperson. This is what must happen to alleviate the poor funding of municipalities. I'm happy because the deputy President is here as well. We are not saying this is a theory.
The EFF is in government of three out of eight metropolitan municipalities in South Africa. We are government in City of Johannesburg, we are in government in the city of eThekwini, city of Ekurhuleni, Mogale city, and East Rand
We are sponsible for finance, health and infrastructure, public safety, and other key essential services. This is in addition to many other members of mayoral committees in municipalities in North West, Mpumalanga and other municipalities across the country. This is the basis on which we provide this perspective and we do not on the basis of understanding material conditions.
This morning, the EFF chairperson in Gauteng province tabled more than R50 billion in the 2023/24 budget for Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality in his capacity as a member of a mayoral committee. There's an agreement that the current equitable share funding model is not sustainable. We all agree on this, acting Minister. Where we differ is how we move forward.
Let's start with the equitable share. The majority of municipalities, with the exception of metros that rely on equitable share which is not sustainable. Conditional grants have saved many municipalities that otherwise would not have been able to build essential infrastructure for basic services. We have constantly advocated for a rearrangement on how we allocate revenue raised nationally.
This Bill does not address the structural problem of misallocation, which requires us to change the whole formula so that we direct resources to a sphere that is responsible for service delivery every day.
But we are conscious of the current conditions and the corruption that collapsed many municipalities. While we stand
on this principle, we are of the view that a model that will save guard state resources in the financing of essential services infrastructure is conditional grants.
With all its challenges, the model of conditional grants provides for some form of checks and balances that is maximally implemented so we can track each and every cent that was allocated for the building of essential infrastructure.
What we must do is to build additional municipal capacity to ensure that all municipalities are well capacitated to assess all conditions. No municipalities must return conditional grant funding to the National Treasury. All municipalities must establish dedicated unit to deal with conditional grants. This is not only applicable to metros, but to all municipalities.
These unit must know which grant their municipalities are eligible for, how to apply for them, how to report on them and what to do when they receive them. This goes along with building state and government internal capacity and doing away with tenders.
This also means that municipalities must not use consultants but must build this capacity of capable professionals with the capacity to plan, execute and maintain large infrastructure projects. The EFF therefore does not support the municipal Fiscal Power and Functional Amendment Bill. Thank you very.
Ms Z MAJOZI: Hon House Chair, the Bill we are debating today deals with regulations of power of municipalities to levy development charges, and related issues. We agree that the objectives of this Bill are good and are related to the development of people in the areas where they live.
Municipalities are the closest sphere of government to our people and are the ones that provide people with their very basic needs. This therefore makes them more important than all government departments. With government departments, the services that they provide to our people are done at the local government level.
All of us in this House know that the majority of our municipalities are dysfunctional. We all know that corruption is rampant in many municipalities and that they lack skills. We are also aware that in most municipalities a lot of money that should be going towards service delivery is embezzled
through corruption and the paying of workers’ salaries because these municipalities have turned to employment agencies instead of a service-delivery agency.
Although its intentions are good, the biggest concern with this Bill is whether municipalities will be able to levy their applicants’ property and whether the money levied will indeed go towards service delivery or will this just be a way to make money by unscrupulous politicians and officials ... to loot.
Also, as mentioned in this Bill, municipalities will be able to decide to grant a rebate, for example to a category of applicant or category of land development through reducing the development charge payable or exempted. We are not sure if they will do this fairly or even whether such exemptions, reductions and rebates will only be granted to friends and those willing to ... kickbacks.
Many questions were clarified during public hearings but the truth is that corruption is still rampant in municipalities. It is unlikely that we will see the benefit of this Bill, although the IFP supports the Bill. Thanks.
Mr W W WESSELS: House Chair, the problem faced by municipalities in South Africa cannot be solved by any legislation trying or attempting to increase revenue because the biggest problem is that municipalities do not provide services in correlation with monies that they collect. People pay for services but they do not receive the services. This Bill does not address the problem that these levies will most probably be used by many municipalities to pay salaries because our biggest problem is the fact that there is no fiscal discipline, especially in terms of the compensation of employees, where the salary bills are between 60% and 90% of the municipal budget, and where there’s no money left.
Municipal infrastructure grants, which are supposed to be ring-fenced and are actually ring-fenced by legislation to only be utilised for those purposes, are not used for those purposes. So, how are we going to guarantee that these levies will be utilised for the purpose of the development of bulk infrastructure and services?
The problem is that any municipal government or national government should not only collect rates and taxes but should earn them, and the biggest problem with ANC governments on all
levels is that they do not earn taxes and they do not earn the trust of the people out there.
Die probleem is dat mense nou nie meer gaan betaal nie. Die mense wie betaal en wie munisipaliteite in hierdie stadium steeds finansier word moeg daarvoor om te betaal en niks in ruil daarvoor te kry nie. Die geld wat hulle betaal, wat swaarverdiende geld is, word op duur motors gemors.
Die agb Minister moet verduidelik hoe ons oor fiskale beleid en fiskale dissipline ... praat terwyl daar landelike munisipaliteite is waar mense ly, waar dienste nie gelewer word nie, waar riool tussen huise loop en waar daar werklik nie infrastruktuur is nie, maar dan ry ’n ANC burgemeester met ’n Mercedes rond wat by the R2 miljoen kos. U moet dit verduidelik. Daar is nie fiskale dissipline en verantwoordelikheid nie, en dit kan nie deur ’n wet aangespreek word nie. Dit moet deur ’n verandering van regering aangespreek word. U sien, die probleem is dat samewerkende regering deur die Grondwet daargestel word.
This government has the responsibility to promote co-operative governance but the national government fails to do it and provincial governments fail dismally to do it because where there are 139 interventions there is more noncompliance with laws and regulations than the municipalities themselves.
This national government fails with administration and with assisting municipalities. On provincial level, there should be interventions and there is none, or where there are there is only political motivation and no actual reasons for it.
We need responsibility at municipal level to get service delivery going. We can talk in this House about economic development and about getting this country on a better track but without service delivery on the most basic level, on municipal level, we will never get businesses going, we will never get unemployment addressed and we will never eliminate poverty. I thank you.
Mr S N SWART: House Chair, this Bill allows for a municipality to levy development charges for bulk services. Now, National Treasury’s 2022 state of local government report found that
169 municipalities were in financial distress at the end of
2021-22. This is staggering and the ACDP finds this deeply concerning, as service delivery is directly impacted. Most outstanding municipal revenues are owed by households, businesses and even government departments, while municipalities in turn owe water boards, water trading entities more than R15 billion and Eskom almost R50 billion. Funds are collected but not paid over to Eskom.
Now, the challenge is that development charges will similarly be collected but not used for bulk service provision. Many of the municipalities are struggling to provide an acceptable level of service to their communities and public trust is eroding as a result of these substandard municipal services. We have a lack of water supply; we have a lack of electricity; potholes; a lack of solid waste removal; a lack of housing; and the list goes on. The situation is desperate.
It is then crucial that we as elected representatives exercise our constitutionally mandated oversight function over municipalities where there is such deplorable levels of service delivery.
Yesterday, ACDP Member of Parliament hon Marie Sukers attempted to help desperate community members in Warrenton, Northern Cape, who have been struggling to access water. Not only was she denied access to the water treatment centre but in full view of the media and the public, she was assaulted. This cowardly conduct against a female Member of Parliament must be condemned in the strongest possible terms, and while the matter is being investigated by the SA Police Service, the SAPS, the ACDP appreciates the support received from the Speaker, House Chairs and Whips across political lines. Any attack on any Member of Parliament is an attack on all of us and on our constitutional democracy, particularly when exercising our oversight functions. I thank you.
Mr A M SHAIK EMAM: House Chair, the NFP supports the Bill tabled here today. Among other issues, the Bill seeks to empower the Minister of Finance to make regulation for the effective implementation of matters relating to development charges. But when we talk about the issue of services, allow me to draw the attention of this House to Palestinians on the West Bank who are denied adequate housing, access to services, subject to forced evictions, which hampers development all by the abuse that they suffer at the hands of this apartheid
Israel. Okay, I shall tell them. Apartheid Israel is the one that’s abusing the people. But they know about it. I mean, your funders, when they fund you, you keep quiet. You say nothing. You have to take it, you know.
But having said that, you know, remember when these people are funded by the West, particularly in the Zionist Israel, they forget the humanity side of it. They can see nothing else but see that money. They are dictated and that is why they only follow ... nothing else. The very same people can see the arms and ammunition that goes to Israel, which is now going to Sudan, which is going to all these countries and causing chaos and mayhem. They will do nothing about it. But having said that, ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Order! Order members.
Mr A M SHAIK EMAM: Don’t worry about this man. He sold his ethics and his principles because he’s jumped the other side. But anyway, having said that the Acting Minister, I think one of the things that we need to deal with, and I was very disappointed because I wrote to National Treasury wanting them to give us details which I requested previously on local
government on tenders that are issued. There is a lot of tenders being issued - corrupt tenders. Parties here are surviving on it.
If you look at the state of Pongola, Ulundi, Tugela, AbaQulusi, Zululand, you will be shocked about what is going on there. But Treasury told me that it’s normally advertised on the Treasury website, and then I wanted them to give me further details and they came back to me and said to me, no. The municipalities are not advertising this thing. They are not reporting now. You have to make it mandatory. So, I want to plead on you to make it mandatory for all these people wherever they govern, and you see how much of corruption is
... you think there is corruption at ANC? There is 10 times worse in the other areas. They must report on all tenders that are issued. Who it is issued to? Who are these people? What is the value? What is the itemized billing on a monthly basis? So you will know who is the money’s contracts being given to in any case. You will be shocked as to what you will actually find happening in local government level.
I think in that way, you will stop the level of corruption because remember what the CEO said, South Africa loses an
estimated 40% on goods and services in South Africa as a result of corruption. So, I want to plead with you Acting Minister, to put that in place. The NFP supports this Bill. Thank you.
Ms W R ALEXANDER: Chair, as part of the municipal financial powers and functions, municipalities are able to calculate development levy charges that are uniform and based on good governance. The framework is designed to be consistent, transparent and equitable for municipalities to use as a benchmark. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing twice and expecting a different result. We, as the DA, are concerned that this levy may just be another form of taxation that will not be effectively used. Only 16% of South African municipalities are functional and have an overall financial standing that has decreased over the past five years.
Local government’s lack of good governance and their steep in poor financial management is a further putting this Bill at risk. Local government has constituted the responsibilities to ensure that the administration, budgeting and planning processes are structured and managed so that the basic needs of the communities are prioritized, and that social and
economic development is promoted. Due to the high costs that the developers will have to shoulder should the development levy be applied, the purchasing power and the money in the developer’s hands will decrease and certain municipalities cannot afford the bulk services required.
In one sense, the Bill could provide employment opportunities, economic growth and facilitate the movement of goods and people into municipalities. But on the other hand, local municipalities are concerned that they will need more infrastructure, such as water, sewage and electricity to provide for the needs of the proposed development. Currently, there are local municipalities that are charging development levies. However, the problem is that these levies are not ring fenced and not used for their intended purposes. Their purposes should be for the infrastructure development and not simply the running of the municipalities day-to-day, such as covering the municipalities inflated Wage Bill.
By resolving the development levy for the specific purposes, municipalities can reduce the onerous responsibility to provide infrastructure to accommodate for the load and to promote development by bulk services. According to Spatial
Planning and Land Use Management Act, SPLUMA, the levies can be used to apply for engineering services for development.
Yet, we have evidence that municipalities are not using these levies as intended, but rather simply another source of income. The DA does not support this Bill. Thank you.
Ms M D MABILETSA: House Chairperson, thank you Deputy Minister, Deputy President and hon members. The ANC has consistently stated that infrastructure investment is integral in addressing poverty, inequality and unemployment.
Particularly in the face of rapid rising urbanisation. In the context of spatial planning and development, state infrastructure has to respond to population expansion in urban areas and budget should be oriented to address this reality.
The same sense of policy priority applies to rural infrastructure planning, development and budgeting. Despite substantial infrastructure spending between 2008 and 2013, we have witnessed a period over a number of years of under investment, both in ... [inaudible.] ... infrastructure and building new infrastructure to meet the demands of urbanisation and the rapid demand for basic services.
This has affected the availability and reliability of municipal services and constrains to local economic development. Land development projects are often delayed for long periods of time by unavailability of late delivery of bulk infrastructure. Fiscal consolidation and reprioritisation have meant municipalities have had to mobilise their own revenue resources to finance the rehabilitation of existing infrastructure and the development of new infrastructure.
This has had an impact on municipal service that are reliable and available to sustain economic activities and bring in private sector investment which creates further jobs and increases the municipal revenue base.
In order to correct this, the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework reflects increase expenditure addressing the very areas that analysis and research has shown need attention. The Amendment Bill has to be located within the broader local government fiscal framework and the ability of municipalities to rise revenue against their expenditure responsibilities.
Development charges are one of the instruments that municipalities can use to finance the provision of
infrastructure. Development charges are a once off charge levied by a municipality on the applicant as a condition for approving land development application. They are imposed to cover the cost incurred by the municipality where installing new infrastructure or upgrading existing infrastructure.
The concept of a development charge is that the urban growth and expansion of new land use development creates the need for additional infrastructure services. These services which are as an essential part of land used development are a direct cost generated by the development and should therefore be paid for by the applicant.
This will avoid the financial burden being posed on municipalities or existing communities. Development charges are an existing source of municipal revenue, currently regulated through various pieces of legislation including provincial ordinances.
However, none of this provide clarity on how development charges should be levied or calculated. This has created legal ambiguity and increased the scope for litigation ... [Inaudible.] ... these legal challenges. Municipalities have
not full utilised development charges despite their potential scope or providing an alternative option for financing municipal infrastructure.
So, what is the problem statement that Amendment Bill seeks to address. The ineffectiveness in the utilisation of development charges, as a source to finance municipal infrastructure, has a profound negative economic impact. This can be experienced in under investment in municipal infrastructure and unfair charging of existing residents for the expansion of infrastructure network. While providing a windfall benefit to applicants who don’t pay. This is what the Amendment Bill seeks to address.
The Amendment Bill seeks to establish an ambiguous fair and consistent basis for municipalities to recover development charges for all new land development projects. That requires statutory approvals through the municipal land use planning system. This will assist in bringing about a more standardised, equitable and sustainable framework for financing municipal infrastructure based on the benefit principle.
For applicants it will enable far better high accurate estimates, their development charges, liabilities and ensure that municipalities are able to provide the required infrastructure timeously.
The benefits for municipalities are that it introduces the effective system of development charges that will enhance revenue for finances strategic municipality infrastructure. This will enable municipalities to provide infrastructure in a timely and sufficient manner thereby supporting economic development charges, also providing a pleasureful revenue stream to support borrowing for infrastructure. Uniformity across municipalities on the application of development charges will eliminate unfair competition and/or treatment of applicants both between and within municipal jurisdiction.
It needs to be stated that the Amendment Bill contribute to the broader local government fiscal framework. But it’s not a
... [Inaudible.] ... for this. Currently Cooperative Governance together with National Treasury are working on this in consultation with South African local Government, Salga.
The Amendment Bill will enhance local economic development by addressing provision of infrastructure and its maintenance. In this manner the Amendment Bill categorically contribute to assisting enhancing basic services. The ANC supports the Amendment Bill.
The ACTING MINISTER OF FINANCE (Mr M Gungubele): House Chairperson, again I must express my gratitude to how constructable and robustly you have engaged with in particular those who have supported the bill. The only difference between you and us, is that we want to improve the revenue capacity of municipality. But where we agree with you is the proper use of the fund. Where we agree with you is to ensure that we turn around the financial management.
The fact that there’s number of problems in municipality, doesn’t mean that step by step let’s correct the problems. Because if we were to follow your logic, you are saying municipalities are in trouble. When you resolve things stand up and point a miraculous finger and they turn around overnight. So, if you agree with what we are doing – your problem is that we are not doing everything at the same time, there’s no logic in that.
We agree that there’s basis for this bill, in the sense that existing bills now, are parallel, are all over, scattered and also no clarity, also exposing municipality to litigation, spending a lot of money defending themselves instead of using that money to upgrade or build the new infrastructure. Having said all that, I think this one has been more constructive engagement and we appreciate it very much. Thank you for supporting the bill. Thank you.
Bill read a second time. (Democratic Alliance, Economic Freedom Fighters, Freedom Front Plus and African Christian Democratic Party dissenting).
CONSIDERATION OF REPORT OF STANDING COMMITTEE ON FINANCE ON FINANCIAL MATTERS AMENDMENT BILL
Ms P N ABRAHAM: Hon House Chair, the Financial Matters Amendment Bill was tabled in Parliament by the Minister of Finance on 2 September 2022 already. It's also a section 75
Bill. It seeks to amend the following laws; The Associated Institutions Pension Fund Act of 1963 and the Temporary Employees Pension Fund Act of 1979, so as to amend certain definitions and other provisions aligned to these Acts with their administration by the Minister responsible for finance and to update references to other Ministers.
The second one is the Military Pensions Act of 1976, so that it provides for life partners of these members retrospectively. The third one is the Government Employees Pension Law of 1996 so as to amalgamate the Associated Institutions Pension Fund into the Government Employees Pension Fund. The fourth one is the Financial and Fiscal Commissions Act of 1997, so as to omit the provision for the chief executive officer of the Financial and Fiscal Commission to be its secretary. This amendment was rejected by the committee because the Minister advised that this is provided for elsewhere. The Land and Agricultural Development Act of 2022 substitutes the definition of the Minister and replaces the provision of judicial management with business rescue in terms of the Companies Act, the Auditing Profession Act of 2005, the Auditing Profession Amendment Act of 2021. The Minister subsequently addressed a letter to the committee
dated 5 April to bring the two clause 18 and 22 together for the consideration by the committee which the committee consequently did.
The committee welcomes the amendments to the various pieces of legislation as proposed in the Financial Matters Amendment Bill. Bill 20B of 2022. The committee believes that all public comments on the bill, most of which were clarity seeking, were adequately responded to by National Treasury before the committee 9 May 2023 and in writing. The committee notes the Minister's letter which asked the committee to reject clauses
18 and 22. The committee agrees with this request and accordingly rejects these clauses for the reasons provided by the Minister of Finance in the letter dated 5 April as discussed above. The committee agrees with the amendments proposed in the A list of the Bill as presented to the committee on the 9 May 2023. The committee reports the Bill for the report to be considered. I thank you, Chair.
Declarations of Vote:
Mr J N DE VILLIERS: Chair, this Bill proposes constructive amendments designed to foster robustness, transparency, and more accountability in our fiscal governance structure, and
therefore, the DA will today support this Bill. The amendments under scrutiny today, specifically pertaining to the Military Pensions Act and the Auditing Professions Act, bear direct and consequential impact on social security structure and thus the welfare of the important Government Employees Pension Fund.
In particular, the proposal to extend the Military Pensions Act to include life partners of members retrospectively is an act of recognising the diversity in family structures and one which the DA easily supports. In addition, the proposed revision to the Auditing Professions Act is expected to strengthen the enforcement committee's capacity to sanction severe improper conduct, thereby fortifying a key accountability profession in our economic ecosystem. Allow me to now pause on the status and future of the Government Employees Pension Fund, GEPF. As the largest pension fund in the African continent with 1,26 million members, and as at the last financial year, R2,3 trillion in assets under management, the GEPF is undeniably a central pillar of in the South African social security. This joint institution assures government employees and their dependence of financial security and comfort in retirement. However, this economic giant is navigating turbulent fiscal waters. It is notably
endangered due to its substantial investment in South African assets with 90% of its investment stationed locally.
This high-risk strategy potentially exposes the GEPF and its members to drastic fallout should our local economy falter, so their financial future is tied to one large and unsteady South African ship. The trajectory of our nation's pension fund and the stability of our economy are intrinsically linked to the political landscape, and therefore, the post 2024 election government.
So if GE PF members value their pensions, they must ask them, must ask themselves what could happen to their pension values if the ANC maintains its grip on power. If the country is allowed to continue on its current path of economic volatility and uncertainty, it would be my submission that any member of the GEPF that continues to keep the ANC in power is a high- risk gamble with their hard-earned pension money that they cannot afford to make.
However, a shift in the political direction offers a beacon of hope. When the moon-shot pack triumph in the 2024 elections, a different reality will unfold. The DA is committed to ensuring
efficient management and protection of the GEPF. Which we regard as a priority in our narrative and in our action plan. This commitment is a pillar of our policy agenda and is reflected in our desire to foster a resilient and inclusive South African economy. Moreover, the recent revelation by Stats SA of an unsettling inflation rate of 6,8% serves as a stark reminder of the urgency to act. This escalating inflation not only erodes the purchasing power of pension funds, thus impacting GEPF members, it also sends a warning signal of a precarious economic trajectory.
If we are a government that cares, a current cost of living crisis should be a clarion call to act swiftly to re, to reform the fiscal environment, to alleviate inflationary pressure, and to ensure the GEPF that the GEPF operates optimally for its members. We owe it to our government employees, to our pensioners and our nation to ensure that we uphold this commitment without Falter. The DA supports the financial ma uh, financial matters amendment bill. We understand its significance in, in announcing public finance and administration transparency and accountability. However, we stress that this Bill and its proposed amendments, while essential is not a magic bullet against our current economic
trajectory, and if South Africans are serious about the protection of their pensions, they must vote for government that has a clear record of creating jobs, creating a climate of economic growth and for that, they need to look no further than DA run governments.
Mr M N PAULSEN: Thank you, Chairperson. The Financial Matters Amendment Bill primarily addresses minor and administrative issues across various pieces of legislation. While this is a necessary part of ensuring that our financial laws are updated and accurately reflect the present realities, one could argue that there are opportunities to address more significant and impactful changes within our financial sector.
These opportunities should not be overlooked in the pursuit of tidying up administrative details. One such opportunity lies with a Land and Agricultural Development Bank Act. The Bill seeks to substitute the definition of the Minister and replace ‘judicial management’ with ‘business rescue’ in terms of the Companies Act of 2008.
However, wouldn’t it be more beneficial in the long run if we were to do a complete overall of the Land Bank? The goal
should be to secure a full commercial licence for the bank, but with a developmental mandate. This shift could have a profound impact on the economic growth and development of our agricultural sector, which would surpass the implications of the currently proposed cosmetic changes.
Another area for more substantive change is the Government Employees Pension Law. This Bill currently proposes to amalgamate the Associated Institutions Pension Fund into the Government Employees Pension Fund, GEPF, yet it seems that we are missing an opportunity to regularise the government pension administration legislation to a legislation that is passed by a democratic Parliament, which would provide the agency with more concrete and defined powers. Such a step could give the agency a clear mandate and allow it to operate more efficiently and effectively.
The role of the Financial and Fiscal Commission in the budgeting process should be revisited amid ongoing budget cuts. It is essential that we assess and understand the impact of the Financial and Fiscal Commission’s influence on the process. It appears that the commission could be better
equipped or empowered to deal with challenging financial realities we are facing.
Throughout this process, and indeed in all our legislative work, we must strive to keep language straightforward and accessible. Complex jargon and convoluted phrasing create a barrier between lawmakers and the public, which we are supposed to serve.
Lastly, by ensuring our laws are more easily understood, we encourage transparency, accountability, and broader public engagement in the legislative process. This, in turn, would lead to more informed and inclusive decision-making, better laws and a stronger democracy. Thank you very much.
Mr N SINGH: Thank you very much, hon Chairperson. Good evening colleagues. Yes, as we heard, this Bill is largely of technical nature and there are technical amendments. However, I just want to pick up on maybe one or two issues that other colleagues have spoken about. One is the issue of the Government Employees Pension Fund.
I see we are trying our best to protect those employees who fall under the fund currently, but lo and behold, perhaps if the Commission for Remunerations Recommendations go through in the seventh Parliament, then you and I, hon Chairperson and all Members of Parliament could find that our pensions are transferred from the Public Office Bearers’ Pension Fund to the GEPF.
I know that you are aware, more than anybody else, that it is something that we are not agreeing to. But, in any case, we need to strengthen the GEPF and ensure that it operates under very strict and good governance pertains at all times, so that the hundreds of thousands of government employees get value for the money on the day they retire.
As far as the Auditor-General is concerned, I think it is important that we have these amendments to the Audit Act because we value the institution of the Auditor-General. We all know that, so far, we have had no challenges with the way the office of the Auditor-General functions. It is an office that we will have to rely on consistently, to ensure that taxpayers monies are used effectively and efficiently. So, we
will support all the amendments that have been proposed. Thank you.
Mr W W WESSELS: Thank you, House Chairperson. The FF-Plus supports the amendment Bill. The fact of the matter is that we need more accountability, but that does not mean that accountability is limited and that the lack of accountability is only in government. A lot of scandals and a lot of corruption and mismanagement of funds have occurred in the private sector as well, and a lot of transgressions have taken place by auditors in the profession. Even more recently than Steinhoff, there has been, again, audit scandals. That is why these amendments are very important, but we need even more.
We also need to equip Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors, Irba, with more resources to effectively be the body that can professionally oversee the audit profession, because we should prevent the problems that are occurring, where there is misconduct by auditors and where that has a very big implication on our economy and on the finances of ordinary South Africans out there. I thank you.
Mr S N SWART: Thank you House Chair. The Financial Matters Amendment Bill deals with a number of amendments, positive amendments to various acts: The Pension Fund Pensions Acts, Financial and Fiscal Commission Act, the Land and Agricultural Develop Act, and the Auditing Professions Act. Most of these amendments are technical in nature, and as far as the pension funds are concerned, it has been a matter of great concern that pension funds have been targeted by unscrupulous persons in the past. These amendments seek to strengthen the protection for such pension funds.
As far as the auditing profession is concerned, the Auditor- General, Mr Makwetu, as far back as 2018, said that and I quote: The overall credibility of the auditing and accounting profession in South Africa is in the gutter. The ACPD agreed at that stage and we support the enhanced powers that are now being given to enhance the powers of the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors.
Much was done in the past, and much is to be done now, with this amendment, which we support. If one considers, KPMG was implicated in the Gupta-owned Linkway Trading and the Sars debacle. Deloitte was the subject of disciplinary hearing
related to African Bank as well as the Steinhoff fraud saga. That is to mention just a few.
The ACDP has seen that state capture and corruption were facilitated not only by the SOES and by government, but also by the private sector. So, many of these auditing firms need to be taken to task. We believe that these amendments will go a long way in that regard. The ACDP supports this Bill. I thank you.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): The GOOD party!
Mr B N HERRON: House Chair, I was just going to say we support the Bill. Thank you.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Because I am looking I don’t see anybody and I know you were in the House. Yeah! ... The PAC?
Mr M NYHONTSO: The PAC supports, Chair
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Thank you! Al Jama-ah! The ANC!
Ms Z NKOMO: Thank you, hon House Chairperson. As the ANC, we have taken a stance that we are going to speak to the Bill and not entertain people who are daydreaming that they will rule this country. The ANC will still continue to rule this country to the betterment of our people’s lives. The ANC program of action for 2023-24 has two pillars which the Financial Matters Amendment Bill will respond to.
The first pillar is a long-standing recognition of the need to reduce the cost of living for the nation as a whole, and in particular the poor. The poor, the working class and the middle strata who struggled from month to month. The program to reduce the cost of living penetrates beyond the working life of citizens onwards into pension. The amendment Bill provides further protection for working people, at the same time Provide support to pensioners who have given their working life to the development of the country and communities. The orientation of the ANC to the amendment Bill is to ensure that the aligning of the pension fund legislation and regulation supports and protects working people’s economy Base, and later, the quality of their lives in retirement.
This is a fundamental policy choice and a matter of principle for the ANC.
The second pillar of the 2023-24 ANC Program of Action that the amendment Bill responds to is the fight against crime and corruption. Corrupt practice in the financial sector are a real danger to economic stability, given that it is the biggest sector in the economy. The work of government, together with the office of the Auditor-General and the Independence Regulatory Board for Auditors is fundamentally uncovering corrupt practices by individuals in certain audit firms.
It was the ANC, together with the support of all parties, in the fifth Parliament, who summoned Steinhoff to Parliament, where many in a private sector were trying to question whether we had the authority to call the private sector firm to Parliament to account. The rest is history, of how it was revealed in Parliament. The corrupt relations that existed between multinational companies and certain auditing firms through evergreen contracts, some of which stretch for 20 to
This assisted the Independent Regulatory Board of Auditors to bring about the necessary changes and transformation to the auditing profession that we have today. It is within this
context that the Financial Matters Amendment Bill is presented before the National Assembly today, aligning and amending seven different pieces of financial legislation. It strengthens the rights and economic base of working people and pensioners, while strengthening the space for disciplinary steps to be taken against individuals in the auditing profession.
The progressive nature of the amendment Bill is to be found in the number of the amendments it makes. For instance, it addresses discrimination by amending Military Pension Act, affirming life partners of military pensioners, prospectively from 27 April 1994, when the Interim Constitution of 1993 took effect, and thus allows for life partners to claim benefits.
Another progressive amendment in the amendment Bill relates to amendment to the Government Employee Pension Fund, making the clean-break principle applicable to members of the Associated Institutions Pension Fund by amalgamating the fund into Government Employee Pension Fund. The clean-break principle allows a spouse of a member to claim pension interest immediately upon divorce or dissolution of customary marriage,
and not to wait until the spouse become entitled to the pension.
The protection of the Land and Agriculture Development Bank is contained in amendments to its Act and that administration by Minister of Finance is strengthened, while incorporating provision of the Companies Act. The amendment replaces the provision for judicial management of the Land Bank with business rescue in terms of Companies Act, but liquidation provision in the Companies Act does not apply to the Land Bank.
On the fight against corruption in auditing profession, amendments to the Audit Profession Act of 2005 strengthen sanctions for auditors admitting guilt of serious and improper conduct. It adjusts powers of the enforcement committee, where an auditor admits guilt and allows the enforcement committee latitude based on evidence before, it either to follow the admission of guilt process or where a sanction is warranted, that a letter be referred to this disciplinary committee for sanctioning.
The Standing Committee on Finance accept both proposals from the Minister of Finance, to reject two clauses in the amendment Bill after extensive consultation with bodies in a financial sector. The one clause related to the incorrect procedure as set out in amendment Bill, in so far as it relates to section 76 and not section 75 of the Constitution, as contained in the Bill.
The other clause is the duplication of what already exists in relation to the matter of alleged misconduct of auditors for cases not finalised before April 2021. The Auditing Professions Act of 2005 enables the Independent Regulatory Body for Auditors to establish a transition disciplinary committee to deal with all transitional matters. The Standing Committee on Finance anonymously adopted the report. The ANC supports Financial Matters Amendment Bill. Happy Africa Day! Thank you.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: House Chair, the ANC
supports the Bill.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Thank you, hon members. I wanted to recognise the Chief Whip of the Majority Party.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: I am on the virtual hon House Chair.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Yes, proceed!
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Thank you very much. The ANC supports this, Bill.
Question put: That the Report be adopted.
The Report was agreed to.
FINANCIAL MATTERS AMENDMENT BILL
(Decision on Question on Second Reading)
[TAKE IN FROM MINUTES]
The Bill was agreed to.
DECISION OF QUESTION ON DRAFT RESOLUTION MOVED BY MR K J MILEHAM THURSDAY, 04 MAY 2023
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Hon members, I wish to remind you that this draft resolution was debated in a visual mini-plenary on Thursday, 04 May. But that the decision thereon can only be taken in the full plenary.
Are there any objections to the motion being agreed to? No objections ...
Mr T N MMUTLE: Hon Chair, we object to this motion.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): So, the motion is not agreed to?
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Hon Chair, can we be recorded properly that the ANC object to the motion.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): It’s taken, hon Chief Whip. It is recorded.
Question not agreed to.
Motion accordingly negatived.
AFRICA DAY: DEEPENING THE AFRICAN UNION’S VISION OF AFRICAN UNITY, PEACE, PROSPERITY AND DEVELOPMENT
Mnu Z M D MANDELA: Mandibulele Sihlalo ohloniphekileyo, ndibulise kumalungu ahloniphekileyo ale Ndlu yoWiso-mthetho yeSizwe, ndisithi ngqanga neentsiba zayo.
Allow me to dedicate this speech to all Africans present and of past generations, and especially Africans in the diaspora who continue to suffer under the scourge of racism and racial oppression, continue to be denied their basic human rights.
In celebrating Africa Day, we are equally reminded of the brutal murder of George Floyd in the United of America, USA, and the progressive strides that the African people have taken since the establishment of the Organization of African Unity, OAU, now the African Union, AU.
We also commit to addressing many of the challenges that the African people continue to face today.
Today as we optimistically celebrate the 60th anniversary we are reminded of the great sacrifices that our courageous forefathers have made in the fight against racism, colonialism and imperialism. We salute them for having laid the foundation for the unity of all Africans at home and in the diaspora. The unity that should define our positive, progressive and common strife for the betterment of the lives of all Africans.
Hon Chairperson, we often hear that history is written by the victors, and for us as Africans this day signifies our great victory and it is for this reason that we must write our own history and tell our own story.
As Amílcar Cabral once said: Must know difficulties, tell no lies and claim no easy victories.
Today as we celebrate the victory of the formation of the OAU, we uphold to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing else but the truth.
Consider the contentious matter of how the narrative of South African history is presented. Frequently, we encounter a rendition of South African history commencing in 1652 with the arrival of Jan van Riebeck. And the claim once made by Hellen Zille, that colonialism brought the benefits of civilisation to Africa.
As some find it convenient to defend injustices around the world, we, on our part, remember a declaration made by the delegates at the World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance in Durban in 2001. That recognised that colonialism has led to racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. And that Africans and people of African descent, people of Asian descent and indigenous people were victims of colonialism and continue to be victims of its consequences by brutal murder of Africans as a result of colonialism and apartheid.
Western civilisation did not encapsulate the idea that genuine progress and advancements of society occur when moral principles, ethics and respectful dialogue prevail over cohesion, violent and oppression, and clearly it did not imply that a civilized society is one that values empathy,
understanding and cooperation, seeking conflict resolution through peaceful means rather than resorting to force and domination.
The actions of those who aimed to dominate Africans failed to emphasise the significance of advancing justice, equality and human rights as well as fostering inclusive and respectful dialogue. Instead, their approach prioritised power and violence over diplomacy and mutual understanding.
The legacy of colonialism in Africa goes beyond its divisive impact leaving behind expensive destruction and entrenching division such as national boundaries, linguistic divisions between Francophone and Anglophone countries and exacerbating tribal conflicts. These persistent consequences continue to fuel civil unrest and political instability, perpetuating the cycle of regime change.
We know that settler-colonialists encountered the Khoi and the San at the Cape with the Uray Lona defeating Portuguese General, Francisco de Almedia in 1510. Goring Hikona suffered devastating consequences including genocide due to small pox.
Conflicts labelled frontier wars by colonizers, but wars of dispossession by indigenous people took place from 1774 to 1879, which were led by Khoi, Khosa and Corona leaders, resulting in political prisoners being sent to Robben Island.
Hon Chairperson, the depth and significance of our connections with the African continent coupled with our shared experience of colonialism and rich pre-colonial history serve as a foundation for recognizing and promoting Africa’s diversity, thereby strengthening African unity.
This forms the philosophical basis of the ANC’s commitment to advancing progressive African nationalism.
The unity we strive for is not just theoretical concept, it has been solidified through active participation in the struggle. An illustrative example of this is the visit of 1962 by the first and last Commander-In-Chief of uMkhonto we Sizwe, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, to 16 African countries. This visit aimed to garner support for the anti-apartheid movement, showcasing the concrete manifestation of the African unity that the ANC as the oldest liberation movement on the continent held.
During uNkosi Dalibunga’s visit he also received an Ethiopian passport under the name of David Motsamai in Addis Ababa where the OAU was established.
Along leaders like Robert Drisha, Oliver Tambo, further solidified the unwavering commitment of numerous leaders such as Anton Lembede, Ashley Peter Mda, Lillian Ngoyi, Duma Nokwe and many others to the cause of a united Africa.
Even 60 years after the establishment of the OAU the struggle of the decolonisation in Africa persists.
And the issue of Western Sahara remains a significant challenge. It is imperative that Western Sahara achieves its freedom and self-determination within our lifetime. The ongoing denial of the basic human rights and justice for the Sahari people is unacceptable and the AU must intensify its efforts to exert greater pressure on Morocco to address this matter.
Equally important is the commitment to silencing the guns on the African continent.
While we dedicate ourselves to the important task of ending armed conflicts in Africa and advocating for disarmourment, it is crucial that we do not suppress our own voices and relinquish our ability as Africans to speak out against injustices, regardless of their form, wherever they may occur across the globe.
In doing so, we must be reminded of the words expressed by the founding Chairperson of the OAU, Emperor Haile Selasie, when he said: Throughout history it has been the inaction of those who could have acted, the indifference of those who should have known better, the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most, that has made it possible for evil to triumph.
While Africa has made significant strides in various sectors including economic growth, governance and social development, it is equally an important occasion to reflect on the progress and challenges faced by Africans on the continent and in the diaspora.
Too push forward, it is crucial for us as African nations to strengthen our internal systems, institutions and structures for good governance.
By prioritising good governance, transparency and accountability African countries can mitigate external influence and foster promote, and achieve sustainable development goals.
Further, making sustainable investments in education, healthcare, infrastructure and technology in line with the Malabo Declaration.
On investment in agriculture, African societies can gain empowerment, economic opportunities and increased resilience against external pressure.
The promotion of entrepreneurship, innovation and inclusive economic policies will further stimulate job creation and decrease reliance on external interest.
Hon Chairperson, we have taken serious note that external forces at play here in our country have not only collaborated with the apartheid regime, but continue to advance its agenda through various means. They strategically provide financial support to non-governmental organizations, NGOs, community- based organizations, CBOs, and engage in academic exchange
programmes to further their influence. These actions are part of a broader effort to perpetuate the remnants of the oppressive regime and hinder progress towards a more inclusive and prosperous South Africa.
In thinking about the implementation of African Continental Free Trade Area, AfCFTA, agreement, no one can deny the saying that: Indeed, the tide that is sweeping Africa today cannot be stained, no power on earth is greater enough to halt or reverse the trends and its march forward is as relentless and exorable as the passage of time.
In conclusion, the OAU has contributed to the liberation of South Africa and it is for this reason that South Africa has contributed immensely to peace-keeping missions on the African continent. And most importantly, through the development of the AU Agenda 2063, in building the Africa we want.
Our country is a permanent host of the Pan-African Parliament, PAP, and this is an important institution that is aimed at developing continental policies and legislation.
It is worth emphasising that the African block participated at the formation of the non-aligned movement and it is totally not acceptable for great powers to seek through cohesion and other means. Africa to be abandoned to this principled stance.
We wish to remind the great powers that Africa should not be balkanised into smaller and weaker states.
Happy Africa Day. I thank you, House Chair.
Ms E L POWELL: Chairperson, the African Union’s agenda 2063 envisages a continent in which there is a universal culture of good governance, democratic values, respect for human rights, justice and the rule of law. Yet, 60 years on from the establishment of the organisation of African Unity much of Africa still remains desperately poor, undemocratic and besieged by conflict. Despite the brilliant creativity, resilience and shared humanity of the African people year by year the exquisite dream of a democratic, prosperous and economically competitive continent recedes.
Chairperson, today as the world celebrates Africa Day, opposition leaders are being detained in Algeria, LGBTQI+
community fear for their life in Uganda, girl children are kidnapped by violent extremists in Cameroon and sexual violence against women in Sudan intensifies as vicious warlords continue to diminish any fragile prospects for lasting peace in the region.
In the face of these atrocities that are actively perpetuated without sanction or consequence by the brotherhood of African leaders. It becomes increasingly intellectual dishonest to continue to chalk up Africa’s underdevelopment as a continent to the legacy of colonialism. As Beijing, continue to execute its policy of neo-colonialism across Africa, supplying billions of dollars in infrastructure loans in order to extract raw materials from our fertile soils, many African nations now face the very real risk of defaulting on their mountainous debts.
The dog whistle of waste and imperialism become increasingly hackneyed and tiresome in the face of the failure of the present day African leaders to hold to account dictators and warlords who actively perpetuate the cycle of comparative and development. Chairperson, 30 years ago the world looked to
South Africa as a shining beacon of hope for the African continent.
Sadly, under the leadership of the ANC, the powerful and strategic geopolitical role that our country should have played in the region’s path to prosperity has been punctuated by the little other than the rhetoric and hypocrisy. The ANC’s failure to develop and to implement a meaningful Africa- centric foreign policy agenda of the continent is not only a missed opportunity, but it is a grave disappointment to all who once held our country in such high esteem.
As Africa continues to weather the devastating impact of the food and energy crisis generated by Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine. The dream of a unified, peaceful and prosperous continent continues to stagnate. If the ANC was genuinely worried about Russia’s war of aggression and Ukraine contributing to rising food cost in Africa, they would acknowledge the significant risks that the ANC’s dalliance with the Kremlin poses to the sustainability of South Africa’s largest trade partnerships which feed our nation’s people.
Hon members Africa has so much to offer the world and we can still navigate our way to prosperity if the citizens of our nation and our continent come together to usher in change at the ballot box, Africa will one day rise and take its rightful place as leaders on the world stage. But so long as crumbling former liberation movements like the ANC remain in charge Africa’s 2063 vision will remain just that. An elusive dream. I thank you.
Ms K N F HLONYANA: House Chairperson, when the founding fathers of the organisation of the African Unity met in Ethiopia 60 years ago. They were under no illusion of the work that lay ahead for the continent. The establishment of the OAU was the clearest affirmation then that the Africa and her people were not less capable of taking charge of their own lives and fighting for that which is fundamental to freedom.
It was with this awareness that President Kwame Nkrumah said at that congress:
On this continent, it has not taken us long to discover that the struggle against colonialism does not end with the attainment of national independence. Independence is only
the prelude to a new and more involved struggle for the rights to conduct our own economic and social affairs; to construct our society according to our aspirations, unhampered by the crushing and humiliating neo-colonialist controls and interference.
Our leaders knew that those who colonised and oppressed us were not going to give up and that it was the deliberate actions of our leaders that were going to free the continent from the stranglehold of neo-colonialism and underdevelopment. The goal was always to unify the unification of the continent. A unity that was going to manifest itself politically, economically and socially.
It is for these reasons that the OAU later adopted the treaty established the African Economic Community in Abuja in 1991. The Abuja treaty had defined timelines for economic integration in the continent and for the establishment of institutions that will facilitate its unity. While we have since witnessed the establishment of the Pan African Parliament and the African Court of Justice. The rest of the commitments have not been implemented in a way that frees the continent from the stranglehold of colonisers. Even these
institutions have not been given sufficient powers to legislate and adjudicate on critical matters in this continent.
House Chairperson, we want African Unity to be premised on the common prosperity of Africans across the continent and in the diaspora. We cannot as Julius Nyerere once observed the unity of our poverty. Similarly, we cannot be united with differences that make our leaders to eager to ferment the division and the killing of our people. We must resolve the crisis in Sudan and restore democracy in that country. The AU must be firm with the leaders who are fermenting the conflict in Sudan because that conflict essentially has nothing to do with the people, but it’s about the interest of the military industrial complex. If we are to have the Africa to our forbearers envisioned, we must be bold enough to tell Mswati to open up democratic space in eSwatini and stop harassing and killing people.
Chairperson, the problem of Zimbabwe is our problem. We have, and the continent has been silent. We can all see that Mnangagwa is handling Zimbabwe like his own spaza shop and making it difficult for the opposition to function in his
country. It’s tragic that we have abandoned our strategic leadership position in the continent and lost our voice of critical matters affecting the continent.
We must support the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area, and we must work towards building a sustainable industry to ensure that the goods and the service that the continent trades intentionally are good produce and processed in the continent. The AFCTA must never be used as the conduit for West goods, Chairperson. We must work toward strengthening the African Development Bank as the primary finance institution in the continent, helping to build power station, build roads and other infrastructure. We must work toward reclaiming the Inga Hydroelectric dam project from the Western companies and the government and ensure that the project benefits Africa and Africans first, not our former colonisers.
Chairperson, all these things require a stable leadership moving in content in the continent. Unfortunately, the continent is now led by slots with no visions other than lining up their pockets and serving their Western masters. The
likes of Mr Ramaphosa will never lead this continent, anyway. Thank you very much.
Mr M HLENGWA: Hon House Chairperson, at the outset, let me remind us of the words which read, “we must unite in our parish. We must recognise that our economic independence resides in our African Union and requires the same concentration upon the political achievement”. These words were uttered by then President of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah, in his address at the founding of the Organisation of African Unity, OAU, in Addis Ababa. These words still ring true today as we join fellow Africans across the continent and around the world in celebration of Africa Day, as well as the 60th anniversary of the African Union established on 25 May 1963 as the then OAU.
The birth of the African Union, AU, was a consensus-based change based on the decision of African leaders to, and I quote, “...to refocus attention from the fight for decolonisation and ridding the continent of apartheid”, which had been the focus of the AOU towards increased co-operation and integration of African states to drive Africa’s growth and economic development.
There is great strength in our unity as a continent. Africa is a home to over 1,3 billion people, and the home to the world’s youngest population. We have vast mineral resources and approximately 60% of the arable land in the world. According to the African Development Bank Group, to quote, “Africa is said to outperform the rest of the world in economic growth over the next two years with real gross domestic product, GDP, averaging around 4% in 2023 and 2024.”
Born out of Africa’s common struggle for freedom is the AU’s vision of an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the global arena. This vision dictates the common purpose for our continent. To achieve this vision, much more work remains.
Threat to our collective prosperity and success are abound. We need a stable, peaceful continent in order to provide opportunities for our people. In the words of the AU, we must silence the guns. Conflicts such as the current war in Sudan and the ongoing violence in northern Mozambique threaten to destabilise not only the countries themselves, but their regions and the continent as a whole. The scope and magnitude of this challenge is apparent when one considers that the AU
was forced to extend the date to silence the guns from 2020 to 2030.
For the continent to flourish it is also essential that each Member State ensures that it is equipping its population with the requisite skills to meet the demands of the ever-evolving economy and the future. Education, starting from early childhood development all the way through to the tertiary phase, must be a priority. Further, the quality of the education provided to our youth will also impact how they are able to progress and ultimately the types of work they are equipped for.
South Africa, in particular, needs to step up as far as basic literacy is concerned. The 2021 progress in International Reading Literacy study released on 16 May indicated that more than 80% of South Africa’s Grade 4 pupils who are on average age nine or 10 years cannot read for meaning. A child who cannot read is not likely to become an adult who can pursue a career in data analytics or cyber security, currently among the most in demand skills in Africa right now.
According to a March 2023 SAP Africa report, 97% of African organisations expect to have tech skills challenge in 2023 and four in five African organisations were affecting negatively
... [Inaudible.] ... in the past year ... [Time expired.] ... Let us renew our commitment the course of this day. Happy Africa Day. Thank you, House Chair.
Dr C P MULDER: Hon House Chairperson, today is 25 May, Africa Day. It is an important date and an important day. I have a flat pole in front of my house, and I use that pole to raise different flags depending on different days and different things. So, this morning, I raised the flag of the African Union, which I do every year.
The topic of the debate for this afternoon is deepening the African Union’s vision of African unity, peace, prosperity and development. It is a very important vision because we are dealing with African unity, peace, prosperity and development. The question, however, is: Does the current South Africa have any constructive and positive role to play in the realisation of this vision? We should draw distinction between words and deeds.
The hon Mandela gave a very good speech today and it was from the ANC’s perspective and their interpretation of history. I respect that and it was a good speech dealing with words, but deeds are more important than words.
If you look at the economy and the question is, what contribution does South Africa make to this vision? In 1990, South Africa had the largest economy in Africa, but now Egypt and Nigeria overtook us. We lost our position as the largest economy in Africa.
Last week, the African Development Bank reported that South Africa, our country, is dragging down Africa’s growth. Look at the figures. At this moment, 18 African countries, that’s one- third of Africa’s countries will experience a growth rate above 5% in 2023 and is expected to increase to 22 in 2024.
That’s 40% of African countries that will have a growth rate above 5%. Our growth rate in South Africa is projected at the paltry 0,8% in 2023 and 2024.
At this moment, as we speak now, our currency is in a freefall. I don’t know if you have noticed that the rand is at the moment at its weakest against the dollar, it was R1,79
just now. Why does this happen? It is because high interest rates, persistent power outages, infrastructure collapse, corruption, unemployment, capital outflows as investors seek better alternatives.
The power supply, Eskom, in 1994 provided 37 840 megawatts. At the moment, energy availability is not even 53% with load shedding every day. In 1994, South Africa had the strongest military force in in Africa and we have lost that as well — it is now Egypt and Algeria. When it comes to infrastructure, the most developed infrastructure was in this country in 1994, and now we see it collapse. Let’s give you some figures on the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa, Prasa. In 2014, more than 550 million passenger journeys per year. In 2019, it fell to 230 million and in 2022 only 15 million passenger journeys per year. All of this happened under the ANC-led government.
Now the tragedy is that it is good to be good with words, but deeds say much more.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Hon Mulder, there is a point of order. Can you take your seat, please? The hon Mpumza?
Mr G G MPUMZA: Hon House Chair, the hon member is saying that before 1994 infrastructure was highly developed in this country. Can the hon member take a question?
Dr C P MULDER: I would gladly take your question.
Mr G G MPUMZA: What type of infrastructure did you develop in the Bantu states, that you created? Thank you.
Dr C P MULDER: We can go into history if you want, and you will come out second best. Each one of those Bantus towns, as you call them, had its own university. How many universities have you built under the ANC since 1994? How many? How many have you built since 1994? Be careful when you ask questions, you’ll get answers.
House Chairperson, the fact of the matter is that unfortunately, South Africa should have been the locomotive pulling this country and Africa. You squandered that opportunity. The African vision can no longer afford an ANC governed South Africa to realise that vision. It’s time for change.
Rev K R J MESHOE: House Chairperson, two years ago, we debated on Africa Day the subject “Building a better Africa and a better world in the midst of COVID-19”. I started my speech by saying that the dream of building a better Africa and a better world will remain a pipe dream under the current leadership on the continent, unless our two apologetic leaders change their thinking and attitude.
Africa needs courageous leaders with moral fortitude and determination to confront issues that continue to plague our continent, such as corruption, betrayals, briberies and terrorism. This continent needs leaders who will deepen the African Union’s vision of African unity, peace, prosperity and development. Leaders who can stand and argue for what they believe while defending the sovereignty of their countries, particularly in the light of international pressure on African nations to abandon their moral values in exchange for moral practices of the west.
Africa desperately needs visionary leaders who will bring positive change to the economic prospects of their countries, in spite of those who want Africa to remain impoverished. It needs leaders who will lead and move Africa from primarily
being raw material producers of agricultural goods and minerals to an Africa whose confident sons and daughters will know how to beneficiate their raw materials, develop and manufacture goods that will reach all corners of the earth.
Africa needs strong and confident leaders who will guide this great continent from what it is today to a developed continent that will be a force to be reckoned with among nations of the world. These leaders will be able and will be encouraged to to ignore those wealthy, cruel and uncaring individuals who say and teach that Africa should remain impoverished because they need their raw materials cheap.
The ACDP believes that all those living in Africa should benefit from the wealth and minerals that God has freely given us. The ACDP further believes that with Godfearing leaders of integrity at the helm, nobody living in a beautiful country called South Africa will go to bed hungry. There is enough wealth in this country to feed all our people. God bless Africa with her sons and daughters. Happy Africa Day. Thank you.
Mr S N SWART: House Chair, may I rise on a point of order, please?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Yes, what is the point of order, hon Swart?
Mr S N SWART: It is very difficult to hear when one’s leader speaks. Sitting here I was struggling to hear. Can I just ask that we be aware we are in a very small environment here, could we try and listen to one another. We listen when other people speaks but there were a lot of conversations whilst our leader was speaking, and I wonder if you would rule on that in future? Thank you, House Chair.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Thank you very much. The order is sustained.
Mr B N HERRON: House Chair, when countries in the global north clash violently, the world turn to attribute the conflict to ideological, political or economic differences. But when violence is committed in Africa, it is just dismissed as savagery. When countries in the global north invade other southern states, they seek to cut their activities as
logically necessary for peace. They claim that violence they are committing has integrity. When African countries descend to violence, there is no requirement for logic or integrity because our continent is regarded as intrinsically violent and unscrupulous.
When Russia invades Ukraine the world’s media rushed to contextualise, analyse detail and explain. But when the Sudanese generals embark on brutal campaigns of violence against their people, we aren’t open to any detail or new ones. It is just more violence in Africa and more bodies piling up in the streets.
At the country and Europe develop deeply discriminatory legislation against the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex, LGBTQI+, people, it would be considered as a global outrage, and it would be stopped by its peers. That is okay to sentence gay people to life imprisonment in Uganda because Uganda is African, and after all that’s how Africans behave.
It is okay for innocent people to die in the Western Sahara because, well, it is Western Sahara. In terms of global power relations Sahara are considered expandable.
Africa Day should acknowledge and celebrate more than Africa’s existence. It should set our place alongside people who live in other continents as equal members of a single humanity. And if we are to be honest is doing a pretty lousy job at developing peaceful, inclusive and sustainable future for us all.
Africa Day should be above more than wearing an African lapel pin or ethnic dress for the day. It should be about deepening our commitment to human rights. Because when we are committed to universal human rights a space for discrimination shrinks. When we see others as interdependence for many reasons of us, we outlaw human wrongs.
When we hear our citizens recently return from Sudan describing bullet-riddled bodies, of young people lying blotted in the streets, dismembered limbs rotting in baking sun, when we heard that university students were forced to barricade themselves to protect their lives, we got to
challenge ourselves as Africans to view it as an unacceptable plight.
We have to raise our voices focus on our fellow nations, deploy peacekeepers and stop violence. Anything less will be to accept the inferiority and expand the ability the world confesses on us because we are Africans.
South Africa’s transition from apartheid and the development of the human rights based on Constitution won us global recognition for championing human rights. Yes, we have multiple challenges at home, but the challenges don’t diminish our moral responsibility to demonstrate that we have a set of values that aren’t for sale. Investing in these values would be something to celebrate on Africa Day. Thank you.
Mr A M SHAIK EMAM: House Chairperson, closures and other measures put by the Israel occupation of the West Bank has cost US$58 billion to the Palestinian people. My understanding is that Africans are their own greatest enemy.
I want to quote our former leader, Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi when he said:
Millions of Africans travel to Europe for jobs and to have better life. A united Africa will utilise its resources and create jobs that will keep Africans back home. It’s either we live or die in Africa. Africa is our mother. How can we leave our mother?
It is the same leader Muammar Gaddafi who said one Africa, one president, one currency. That is really what we need. When I say we are our own greatest enemy, we have something like
874 million hectors of arable land in the African continent. Food insecure we are! Why? We have all the minerals, gold, diamond, chrome, platinum, we have land, we have oil, we have water, we have skills and we have ocean. But yet we are impoverished. Why?
Racism is rife and it continues today. Tribalism continues, greed, selfishness, wanting to stay in power and take the organisations to the grave is rife. We are own our own greatest enemies.
I am very confused here, Chairperson. Very much so, because I noticed that the DA repeatedly, repeatedly raises the issue of Chinese influence in Africa, but not the influence of the
United States and the west in Africa. Why are you having sleepless nights? Please, tell me, why are you having sleepless nights when the Chinese, when the west, your people that support you, that fund you, have been looting the whole of Africa? And you said nothing about it. The division mayhem and chaos costs all over the world is caused by the west. It is the west that even said that they created Al Qaeda, the terrorists organisation and you still support the west.
It is the west that is causing havoc in Sudan, but you still want to support them. What is wrong when the Chinese come and eat a little bit of the cake? You want the west and the United State to eat all of Africa. They have been eating for centuries. Give the others the opportunity too. Please, that’s all I can urge you to do. Give the others an opportunity.
Don’t feel threatened. The Chinese are not taking, the west is taking everything away. That is the problem we have. [Time expired.] But you because you are conflicted and that’s the problem we have. Happy Africa Day to all. Stand together Africa. United in Africa. Long live Gadhafi. May his soul rest in peace. They killed him. [Time expired. These are the people that killed him.
Mnu Z N MBHELE: Ndiyabulela Mhlalingaphambili.
When the wave of decolonisation started sweeping through Africa in the middle of the last century, independence from the yoke of oppression and exploitation by European powers was widely expected to usher in a new age of political, economic and social freedom that would benefit all the diverse peoples of the mother continent. However, this promise of a bright future was soon dimmed as many of these new nations succumbed to a number of internal problems, from ethnic-based identity politics that tore apart what were often already fragile societies to civil wars and military coups. The reason for most of these problems was selfish decision-making on the part of many African political leaders and elites which ended up suffocating, if not completely snuffing out, the flame of hope for African unity, peace, prosperity and development.
Unfortunately, the ANC has failed to learn the lessons of history, and the story that could have been told about any number of fragile and failing states on the African continent since the 1970s has been replicated by the ANC in a tragic
tale of needless national sabotage. That story begins with the abundant optimism of a fresh start in the midst of a new and emerging global order. But in less than two decades an increasingly out of touch liberation movement that is unable to adapt enough to constitutional governance spreads its rot to every corner and every level of society, such that what was an inspirational vision at the beginning, instead turns into a story of missed opportunities, misspent resources and misguided policies.
Over time, every page of this storybook tells of chronic mismanagement and endemic corruption rooted in patronage politics and the narrow agenda of elite self-enrichment at the expense of broad-based development and delivery. This detrimental narrow thinking is being demonstrated as we speak by the actions and inactions of this ANC government that are putting South Africa at risk of being removed from the African Growth and Opportunity Act, Agoa, because of this government’s decision to hold joint military exercises with Russia and reportedly supply arms to them as well, and its refusal to condemn Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine.
Clearly, the ANC puts first its own narrow affinity with Russia and seeking benefits for its own elite through alignment with an authoritarian aggressor, rather than putting first the broad and best interests of South Africa.
A key problem facing us in Africa, from Cape to Cairo, from Dakar to Dar es Salaam, is that while we are the youngest continent, we are governed by among the oldest leaders in the world. Africa Day will only achieve its highest meaning and significance when this imbalance is corrected. The key question is, how reliably can we entrust the African Union’s Agenda 2063 to custodians who won’t even be there to suffer the consequences of failing to achieve it?
Ms V N SIWELA: House Chairperson, hon members of the House, Ministers, Deputy Ministers in our midst, ladies and gentlemen, I greet you all in the name of peace, democracy and freedom for all. Our today’s theme is: Building a better Africa and a better world.
Mutshamaxitulu, hungu ra mina ri le henhla ka nhlokomhaka leyi nge: Accelerating the implementation of the African continental free trade area, its risks and intended impact.
Africa is endowed with precious metals and mineral resources which are critical for economic development. Our continent has been exploited for these mineral resources. Our continent has one of the best weather conditions which enhance social and economic life. Our continent has wildlife which continues to marvel the world. Our land is fertile making our continent a food basket. Our oceans are rich of marine life and various mineral resources. Our continent is a blessed continent which has not fully benefited its people.
House Chairperson, these are just some of the natural endowments of our beloved continent. It is this natural resource that continues to make Africa a contested terrain by various global economic powers as alluded by other hon members, by the western.
Mutshamaxitulu, hina hi hlamarisa hi vanhu lavo lorha nhlikani, kasi hina hi tiva vanhu va lorha nivusiku loko va etlele.`
The African continent has been exploited by colonial countries for centuries and its trade continues to be skewed to economies of nations that colonised various African nations.
Our African economies though relatively industrialised continues to have an extractive economy, where we export raw materials and import finished goods from mostly developed countries. If Africa was to experience conflict which impacts the extraction of minerals, this would disrupt global value chains as input material such as platinum, cobalt and other minerals are concentrated in our continent.
Chairperson, this is a trend we need to change. Accelerating the implementation of the African continental free trade area is a critical instrument to realise the objective of Agenda 2063. Africa as a developing continent remains a frontier of growth and we need to seize the growth opportunities through advancing structural transformation. Beneficiation of our
natural endowment can be a critical driver for Africa’s industrialisation.
One of the key factors for social and economic development is the human capabilities. Africa is negatively impacted by the brain drainage phenomenon. Many of our intellectuals, scholars and skilled persons migrate to developed economies depriving the continent of the full benefit of its human capability.
As part of the African Renaissance, we need to be able to attract our human capacity to be based in the domestic economy and be global citizens whilst located on the continent. This is critical to impart knowledge to younger generations and to contribute to the socioeconomic development of the continent.
As part of shifting the global balance of forces towards a multipolar world, Eastern countries such as China and India have increased their trade and investment in the African continent. Due to the size of these economies and those of western nations they dominate the continent. Many of the trade relations of African countries are not sufficiently mutually beneficial. The principle of mutual beneficial trade is
critical to stimulate industrialisation on the continent and to move towards equitable trade relations.
Hon members, the African continent will have the largest youth population in the next half a century. About 60% of Africa’s population is currently below 25 years, and given relatively high fertility rates compared to other regions, the population under 25 is expected to keep rising for the coming decades from 721 million in 2015 to 1,4 billion by 2063.
This is a significant advantage to advance development. Without sufficient economic development the youth dividend can also create various social challenges. As a continent we have a duty to think beyond our national borders. For as long as we think inwardly the ability of the continent to defeat poverty, hunger, disease, and underdevelopment will be a distant reality. As a continent we need to be able to harness all our resources for the development of the continent. After all, the borders we have are an imperial design to disintegrate the continent and its people. The seeds of division continue to manifest in our continent and within nations. For as long as we conform to the imperial vision of dividing the nation and
its people, we will not realise the true potential of our beloved nations.
The African continental free trade area is a critical milestone, though it is yet to be operationalised.
Harmonisation of laws and regulations across the continent is critical for an equitable implementation of the free trade area. As a continent we need to have a continental infrastructure plan to connect our economies and ease travel across the continent. The movement of goods and people is central for economic development.
We should also guard against the risks which come with a free trade as various African countries have different levels of development. We should also have sufficient measure to protect our economies from dumping of goods from other continents which can also use free trade zone for their advantage. We need to encourage investment in the continent to ensure production is undertaken in the continent. This will contribute to localisation, skills transfer and technological transfer which are critical in closing the development gap.
House Chairperson, for the continent to realise Agenda 2063 objectives, energy security is paramount. As the world transitions to a low carbon economy, as a continent we need to increase our research and development to innovate solutions to firstly decarbonise production and invent carbon capturing technology which will help the continent to continue to exploit fossil fuels.
As we move towards a green economy, as a continent we need to take advantage of our mineral endowments. The continent has the required minerals to support the green energy driven industrialisation. Cobalt, copper, lithium, nickel and rare earth elements are all essential for producing electric vehicles and batteries, harnessing solar power and wind energy. This requires the continent to continuously develop skill for the green economy. We need to leverage our youth dividend to be experts in the green economy to ensure we exploit our natural resources optimally as a continent for our own development.
As per Agenda 2063 we need to bring up Africa’s science and technology to the frontiers of global change. We need to manage natural resource revenues; tackle illicit capital flows
and developing innovative development financing such as sovereign wealth funds including intergenerational funds.
Indeed, our continent will take its rightful place in worlds. We are in a path of development relative to our past. Much still remains, but we can achieve the objectives of Agenda 2063 if we put our mind, hands and resource together. We must silence the guns, we must address patriarchy, we must place the empowerment of women and the youth at the centre of development. We need to see the Africa we want.
Xana hi lava Africa ra njhani? Hi lava Africa leri nga khomana, hi lava Africa leri nga ta sirhelela swicelwa swa rona, hi lava Africa leri nga ta lwa na matiko ya le vupeladyambu, hi lava Africa leri nga ta miyeta swibamu, hi lava Africa leri nga ta xixima vamanana naswona hi lava Africa leri nga ta olovisa ku xaviselana exikarhi ka matiko.
Hi ri “phansi” [a swi fambeli le kule] na lava va lwaka na Russia. A yi rhangi emahlweni African Union. “Happy Africa Day” [Ntsako eka Siku ra Africa]. “Amandla” [Matimba]. Ndza khensa.
Mr M NYHONTSO: Hon Chair, addressing college graduates of the University of Fort Hare as student representative council, SRC, president in 1949, the founding president of the PAC of Azania, Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe urged the students to remember Africa, to fight for freedom and the right to call our souls our own. He went further and said we all have a mission, we have a nation to build, a God to glorify and a contribution to make towards the blessings of mankind. Sobukwe was a visionary leader. He was imprisoned in 1963 on 21 May, while on the 25 May the Organisation of African Unity, OAU, was formed. Sobukwe would have aligned himself with the Casablanca bloc led by the Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana.
Their aim was to liberate Africa from colonialism and imperialism. Like the PAC, they aimed to create an Africanist, socialist democracy.
The aims and objectives of African Liberation Day are to fulfil the dreams of a reimagined Africa, where peace and plenty will become a reality, where young people will be inspired to work in the service of the African nation without the chains of exploitation imposed on them by monopoly capital and naked racism.
The PAC and like-minded organisations such as the Azanian People's Organisation, Azapo, the Ngwane National Liberatory Congress and the All-African People’s Revolutionary Party, annually look to the source of African Liberation Day to rededicate ourselves and all our followers and supporters to the ideals of Sobukwe, Nkrumah, Patrice Lumumba, Amílcar Cabral, Zephania Mothopeng, Steve Biko, Kwame Ture, Robert Mugabe, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere and many other revolutionaries.
The time for Africa to rise is now. Remember Africa and begin to realise that we are one people from Cape to Cairo, from coast to coast, from Morocco to Madagascar, from Cape Verde to Cabo Blanco. We share a common history and we deserve a common destiny with the African people in the diaspora. We deserve a better place in the multipolar world of political economics we envisage.
The total liberation and unification of Africa under an all African, socialist democracy must be the primary objective of all black revolutionaries throughout the world. It is an objective which, when achieved, will bring about the fulfilment of the aspirations of Africans and people of
African descent everywhere. At the same time, it will advance the triumph of the international socialist revolution.
My parting shot is from Kwame Nkrumah who said, I am not an African because I was born in Africa; I’m an African because Africa was born in me.
Mr T B MABHENA: Chairperson, the AU as we know it today is a by-product of the OAU formed on this day in May 1963 by African visionaries and intellectual giants of this continent. These leaders were selfless, driven by the greatest urge to pursue a common vision to unite and achieve total independence for all African states. It was a call answered, pioneered and championed by great African statesmen that our continent has produced, his excellencies Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere, Kenneth Kaunda and Sekou Toure of Kenya are but some of the many counted and credited with nurturing this vision.
The concept and objective of uniting this great continent must continue to inspire all of us to contribute tirelessly to its realisation, as articulated in article 2(1) of the OAU Charter.
Certain pockets of our continent are beset by permanent conflict and political instability. We are witnessing the failure of diplomatic efforts, the established method of influencing one another through dialogue, negotiation, compromise and other measures to avoid war and violence. These efforts have been circumvented by the self-interest of dictators and extremists alike, driven by greed and an uncontrollable desire to seize political power and, as a consequence, economic power for self-gratification and wealth accumulation.
The ongoing active war zones and the displacement of the people in Sudan remain sore points, and we call for a peaceful resolution to the conflict. These active war zones are characterised by human rights violations, which further contribute to an already fully fledged global immigration crisis.
Dr Alexander Darku, an associate professor of economics at the University of Lethbridge in Canada, makes the observation that the inability of Africa to collapse the fragmentation of various regional economic lobby groupings such as the Economic Community of West African States, Ecowas, the Southern African
Development Community, SADC, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, Comesa, and the Economic Community of Central African States, Eccas, under a single free trade agreement is perhaps a worrying single and a starting point to analyse the dearth of African diplomacy. In the main, these fragmented groupings point to the lack of diplomatic headway to aid the economic situation of our continent.
The African continent’s approach to the global market is that of working in silos and failure to leverage a unity of purpose, which may have a more positive yield in terms of trade agreements with the international community for the benefit of our African nation states. Yet, the African continent is unable to find each other in so far as economic policy is concerned.
Diplomatic envoys have also failed to produce a unified trade policy, namely the African ... Free Trade ... agreement.
African nation states don’t trade amongst each other. Our trade ratios are shockingly low.
In conclusion, the late Archbishop Desmond Tutu once warned the ANC government and said, “Watch out!”. You failed to heed
his call. The African Growth and Opportunity Act is a R60 billion annual trade in exports to the USA from our country, yet the ANC government is willing and acting
decisively to jeopardise this favourable export regime. With our economy already struggling and crippled with an ANC manufactured energy crisis, we cannot afford yet another ANC mess. Your cosiness to the Russian regime is unfortunately at the expense of our economy and is threatening the livelihoods of South Africans. Again, dare I say, watch out! ANC watch out!
Mr T N MMUTLE: Hon House Chair, revolutionary greetings to the real Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, President Ramaphosa, not some artificial commander in chief, CIC ... [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Order! Order, hon members!
Mr T N MMUTLE: ... the reincarnation of ... [Inaudible.] ... whom his history is shame to this continent and its people. Let me address ... [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Hon members! Hon Mmutle, can you take your seat, please. Hon members! Hon members! Hon members, shall we please give the speaker on the podium a chance. Don’t drown him. Please allow him to continue. Hon Hlonyana! Hon Hlonyana ...
... siyacela ...
... please allow him to continue. Hon Mmutle!
Mr T N MMUTLE: Thank you, House Chair. Let me take this opportunity on behalf of the liberation movement, the African National Congress, which is respected in the continent and the world for its contribution to peace in the continent and the globe. Africa’s independent is observed as Africa Day every May 25. The day is celebrated honour the forefathers who struggled their whole life to attain freedom. We stand here in the shoulders of heroes and heroines of this beautiful continent of Africa to commemorate this magnificent day. We salute African leaders who their foresight for the future of
Africa gave birth to the organisation of African Unity now known as African Union on the 25th of May 1963 in Addis Ababa.
We commemorate this founding of a uniting African organisation whom whose aim was to unite African people beyond our colonial borders and work together towards a common vision of building a better Africa for ourselves. Years later as the African Union continues to evolve to serve the people of our continent better, we must recommit ourselves as South Africa to play our part and contribute to building a better Africa and the world inclusive of peace building, post conflict, reconstruction and development. The African Union was formed to rid the continent of its remaining ... [Inaudible.] ... of colonisation and apartheid to promote unity and solidarity amongst African states and to co-ordinate and intensify co-operation for development of our continent.
We have done well in our role as the Chairperson of the African Union where we advanced the African agenda by encouraging the building of unity, inclusive economic development and shared growth for the people of Africa. Even as we exited the Chairmanship of the African Union, the good work we have been doing is playing its leading uniting role on
the continent must continue. This is in line with our foreign policy, we must also continue to work hard with Southern African Development Countries and deepen regional integration and development. The relevant department must continue championing the work of South African government in strengthening our ties with other African countries, especially in our region. Countries that are still in conflict should be encouraged to resolve their conflict peacefully through dialogue, negotiation and co-operation rather than wars and violence.
It is on that note that we encourage Africans to write their own history so that generations to come must understand where this continent comes from and the path they must take to safeguard the independent of this continent and its member states. Future generation must know and understand the true meaning of terrorism in the context of our continent against that of imperialists and colonisers. As we commemorate this day, we owe the future generation an explanation. Why is Israel not characterised as terrorist country by imperialists in colonisers, while they perpetuate in human violence and apartheid against the people of Palestine? As we commemorate this day, we owe the future generation an explanation. Why is
the United States of America, USA, and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, Nato, member states not called terrorists for the crime and terror they committed in Libya? As we commemorate this day, we owe the future generation an explanation. Why have we allowed Morocco to perpetuate inhumanity against the people of Western Sahara 60 years after the formation of the African Union?
South Africa must maintain her robust stance on foreign policy ideals. We are the offspring of a nation that was once riven by conflict, and we must be guardians of our Freedom Charter which declares that they must be peace and friendship. As the ANC government we are proud with our contribution towards humanitarian support. We are providing two countries that are in conflict such as Eswatini, Sudan and Western Sahara. This must remind us that our nation cannot flourish if our neighbours are constantly in conflict. This reality weigh heavily on our economy because of the social and economic ties that we have with the neighbouring countries. Africa is a very rich continent with vast natural wealth and mineral resources that can improve the quality of life on the continent, using the available treaties, regulations and agreements. It is time
we assert Africa to trade with itself first and foremost and prosper its people.
It is imperative that peace and stability is maintained for the prosperity of the Southern African Development Community, SADC, region and the continent. Adding to that, we have seen how South Africa has done well in providing support both inside and outside our borders to citizen that are faced with the challenges of conflict and disaster.
In the 2023, state of the nation address delivered by the real Commander in Chief of Armed Forces President Ramaphosa, emphasised that South Africa’s role in continental peace building efforts. South Africa remains a significant continental sector and major contributor to peace keeping operation on the continent. Members of the SA National Defence Force have been deployed to numerous peace missions since 1999, such as Lesotho, Sudan, Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, DRC, and Mozambique. South Africa is the leading African country in the deployment of officers in peace keeping mission. On this occasion, we recall the wise words of one of the greatest leaders of our people Kwame Nkrumah who said, and I quote:
Unite we must. Without necessarily sacrificing our sovereignties, big or small, we can here and now forge a political union based on defence, foreign affairs and diplomacy, and a common citizenship, an African currency, an African monetary zone, and an African central bank. We must unite in order to achieve the full liberation of our continent.
For continued growth, prosperity and peace on the continent guns must be silence in all this work being done women youth and children must not be left behind. The Africa we want and aspire to build is one that is inclusive and sustainable to take all its people forward. We owe our being to this continent, Azania. As we wish Africa a happy Africa Day, we must remind the DA of the realities of the world that the countries that they support which are the Western countries, they are the countries that committed the most atrocities in the world. Today as we speak, many people were killed in Iran by the United States of America. Israel continues to terrorise the Palestinian people and kill children and women on a daily basis. Therefore, the DA says nothing about that because of their ideological orientation.
We are partners with Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, Brics, countries and we will adhere to our agreement with those countries, something that is painful to the DA and the Western countries. As we conclude, we want to indicate that the DA must stop its obsession ... [Interjections.]
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: House Chair, I’m rising on Rule 83 which says that a member shall far as possible refrain from reading a speech. It has been 10 minutes since we last saw this member’s eyes.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Hon Mmutle, you can continue with your speech.
Mr T N MMUTLE: I think the message is arriving very well ... [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Order! Order, hon members. Continue, hon Mmutle.
Mr T N MMUTLE: As I conclude, I want to let the DA knows that the realities of the world, we understand Russia’s position and posture on this so-called conflict. This is as a result of
the USA leading Nato to admit Ukraine into Nato, to threaten the sovereignty of Russian people.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Order! Order, hon members.
Mr T N MMUTLE: I’m not sure why are you so worried if I’m reading because all of you came here and you were reading, and no one disrupted you. As I conclude, we must continue as Africa to build the Africa that we aspire and build the Africa that generations to come will be proud of and ... [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Hon Mmutle, you’re left with 29 seconds. I think it will only make sense to add three minutes because I can’t hear you unless the hon members pipe down. Unless you reduce the noise. The noise levels are too high. Hon Malatsi the ... [Interjections.]
Mr T N MMUTLE: Thank you, House Chair. As I was saying the Africa that we seek to build it must be the Africa that generations to come will inherit and ensure the independency of Africa as a continent. The Africa that will not depend on
the west. The Africa that will not be or has to partner with the west, but they can choose whoever partner they want to work with, who is progressive in the global world. Thank you very much, hon House Chair.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M L D Ntombela): Thank you, hon Mmutle. Order, hon members! I request members to stand up and wait for the Chair and the mace to leave the Chamber. That concludes the debate and the business for the day, and the House is adjourned.
The House adjourned at 20:34.